How To Recognize Your Best Employees

December is typically the month when small companies throughout Upstate South Carolina look back over the year and do something to recognize their top performing employees.

Here are some best practices to consider in making employee recognition appreciated by your associates, as well as meaningful for your teams.

1. Don’t Wait. When you see an associate doing something exceptional, recognize her in the moment. When that’s not practical, take the time to communicate in a way that makes it special. An unexpected text message from the business owner to a deserving employee can do a lot to inspire confidence and send a message that she’s important to the organization.

2. Tie Recognition to Business Goals. Assuming you share company performance goals with employees, consider the impact of recognizing great work that supports key business initiatives. An employee who puts in the extra effort needs to know you noticed, and understand his effort to ensure business success.


3. Be Authentic. We live in a time when there’s an “app” for everything, including “automated” employee recognition programs. If you want to get the best from your people — if you want them to take their jobs personally — you need to engage them in an authentic way.

4. It’s Not Just About the Money. According to Meghan Biro in her blog for Forbes, “people know when they’re valued, and they should have a good idea of their value to the organization. Monetary rewards can skew this notion of value, linking it to cash when it should be linked to appreciation of extra effort and smarts.”

The Human Resources Council of Canada published these simple guidelines for employee recognition:

As Soon — Timing is important; don’t delay praise
As Sincere — Do it because you’re truly appreciative
As Specific — Give details of the achievement
As Personal — Do it in person (or a handwritten note)
As Positive — Don’t mix in criticism
As Proactive — Don’t wait for perfect performance