Supervisor Skills: Using Employee Recognition to Boost Engagement

Supervisor Skills: Using Employee Recognition to Boost Engagement

Have you ever wondered why your teams are less engaged than you think they should be? For starters, let’s look at how you recognize your employees for a job well done. Does your organization already have a program, or is recognizing employees something done in hindsight?

A robust and structured employee recognition program will result in fewer resignations, increased productivity, and a more engaged workforce. Studies have shown that the number one reason US employees leave their jobs is that they don’t feel appreciated. As a supervisor, you need to invest in building and sustaining a strong rewards program.  
More than just an employee feeling valued or appreciated, there is a science behind why recognition programs work. There is a physiological impact on employees when they are recognized. When employees receive recognition, their brain releases dopamine. Dopamine makes people feel good. Dopamine supports memory, movement, motivation, mood, and attention span. But beware, the rush of dopamine can wear off rather quickly. Hence, employees are constantly seeking recognition.

If employees are recognized for their hard work, the chances of continuing to perform at that level are much higher, thus making them more engaged and productive. So, let’s look at some ways you can recognize your employees for a job well done:


1. Positive Feedback 

Feedback can be given in many ways (e.g., in-person conversations, e-mails, phone, notes/letters). These are simple ways to quickly recognize an employee for a job well done.


2. Company Swag

You might not think employees enjoy company-branded swag, but they do. Coffee mugs, notebooks, or apparel are always big hits. These are practical and a great way to show pride in where you work.


3. Public Shout-Outs

Praising an employee in a meeting, in front of their peers, has two advantages:

•    The employee gets public recognition.
•    Other employees will strive to get a “shout-out” in the next meeting.


4. Team Meal

If you want to recognize an entire team, consider a lunch out or a catered meal. If you already do this, try to make it different/unique each time and add something to what you typically do.


5. Gathering Outside of the Workplace

Be creative and try to find a relaxing gathering outside of the workplace. Something as simple as bowling gets your employees out of their “work zone” and allows them to meet others within the company that they don’t normally get to know.


5. Time Off

Surprise the employee with an afternoon off. Thank them for a job well done and allow them to spend time with their families or treat themselves to having a little extra “ME” time.  
This is a starting point for ideas on rewarding and recognizing employees for a job well done. Every organization is different, and what works for some might not work for others. Working with your leadership team on the need for a structured program will prove beneficial.   

As a supervisor, you must understand what you can and can’t do without additional approval. Be creative and have fun with it. Your employees will reward you for working hard, being efficient, and helping to maintain a positive work environment. To maximize the effectiveness of recognition programs, keep in mind that recognition needs to be:

•    Regular
•    Immediate
•    Specific

Employees want to feel valued and appreciated. Having a structured employee recognition program will help your organization do that. 

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