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The Priceless Gift of Meaningful Recognition: Customizing Rewards for Your Employees

In the season of gift giving, sometimes we struggle to find the most meaningful way to express our appreciation for the people in our lives. This is especially true when we think about those employees who have given so much of themselves over the past year to contribute to the organization’s success.

Reflect on each of your people contributions this past year, both seen and unseen. This is especially true for your remote employees. In addition to meeting business goals, where have they gone above and beyond?

Good leaders get the importance of recognizing and appreciating their people as a gateway to retaining them. Great leaders customize rewards and recognition in a way most meaningful to their employees.

Because people leaders and organizations may wrongly assume what an employee values as a reward, there are many misses when it comes to handing them out. Meaningful rewards are defined only by the person receiving them.

Exploring employees' recognition preferences by asking a few questions in a rewards conversation is a great place to start. How do you define a reward? How do you like to receive praise or recognition? Do you prefer public or private recognition? What is missing from the current rewards you receive? If you had an extra $25, how would you spend it on yourself? What are your favorite hobbies/leisure time activities.

As you think about rewarding and recognizing each of your valued employees, always begin with the person you are rewarding in mind. Not what may be an easy or standard way to acknowledge the team. Also, be careful not to reward someone in the way you may like to be rewarded. Each of your people are unique human beings and a simple gift of your personalized acknowledgement can be priceless. Giving them the ultimate gift of feeling a sense of value and belonging are two of the greatest gifts for retaining them.


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