Employee recognition is crucial in any organization and a key factor in retention. When done well, employee recognition can also be an exciting, engaging way to show appreciation to your team. These companies have taken the time to understand their employees and design recognition programs that truly make a difference in the lives of their employees. Here are five key ways you can elevate employee recognition, no matter what type of organization you run.

Make Recognition a Part of Everyday Life

When employees have the opportunity to recognize others, it’s a great way to build a healthy culture. It’s imperative that your organization’s culture supports recognition—and that every employee is encouraged to do it. There are many ways to recognize people within your company. Some great examples include sending thank-you notes, holding a departmental appreciation event, or sending a handwritten card to an employee. One way to add recognition to your everyday life is to include a moment of recognition in your weekly huddle. There are many ways to do it successfully, ranging from traditional to digital.

Celebrate the Little Things

When you celebrate the smallest of achievements, you’re not only showing appreciation to your employees—you’re reminding them of why they work so hard. Celebrating the little things engages your employees in a way that recognizes them for their individual efforts and helps them stay focused on the bigger picture. For example, consider that you have a policy that says an employee has to be at work for seven hours before they get a break. If that person makes it through the entire day, celebrate that accomplishment. Send an email or text message to let them know how proud you are of their perseverance.

Don’t Forget About Higher-ups

When it comes to higher-ups within your organization, there’s an opportunity to do more than just send a card at the end of the year. When you celebrate the accomplishments of your leaders, you’re not only showing appreciation for the work they do—you’re reminding them of why they’re leading in the first place. When it’s time to recognize your leaders, don’t forget to highlight the progress your entire company has made. It’s important to remember that the top executives are leading by example for the rest of your organization to follow. Highlight how their positive leadership has helped transform your business and your organization. You can show appreciation by giving them custom trophies.

Make Sure Employees at All Levels Get Equal Opportunities

If there’s one area that will make or break your employee recognition efforts, it’s this one. Every organization has different needs based on the people who work within it. But when it comes to empowering your employees, one thing remains consistent: The need for recognition. When you look for ways to empower your employees, don’t forget about ways to give recognition. For example, make sure that managers have the opportunity to publicly recognize employees. Providing managers with the tools to recognize their employees is a simple way to show appreciation while also empowering your organization’s leaders.

Make a Big Deal Out of Small Achievements

While it’s important to recognize the accomplishments of your team members, it’s just as important to celebrate their individual efforts. Whether your employees are getting a coffee break or taking a lunch break, it’s important to celebrate their efforts. Celebrating the small things is one of the keys to elevating employee recognition. It keeps your recognition efforts fun by reminding your employees that you appreciate the effort they’re putting in.

Surprise Your Most Valuable Employees

Last but certainly not least is the opportunity to surprise your most valuable employees. Research shows that when you’re given the opportunity to thank employees who make a significant difference, you do so by a landslide. Recognizing the leaders in your company is an easy way to show appreciation to your most valuable employees.

The best organizations have found ways to turn employee recognition into a game-changer. When done properly, recognition can help build a healthy culture within an organization and foster an environment of gratitude. Now more than ever, it’s important to take the time to show your team how grateful you are for their hard work.

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