Just imagine you are the new Human Resource Manager and everyone is looking to you to help boost employee morale. Everyone likes being acknowledged for their hard work and dedication after all. The company already provides their employees with a monthly themed celebration but not everyone is into it. Sure, there are food and fun decorations but not much else.

How can we make things fun and get employees to engage? People look for incentives to come to an after work party. In other words, what’s in it for them? Why should they go? This is something you have to think about when planning the party. I see more organizations give gift baskets to their top performing employees then I’d like to see. Let’s face it, some of these “premade” gift baskets aren’t even things the employee who wins it likes. It’s a thoughtful idea but what if the employee who wins it could customize it? Now that might be something they can get behind.

Employee recognition shouldn’t be about the employer but rather the employee. You want to make sure your employees are happy and productive. When you acknowledge their hard work then they will want to work harder for you and the organization. “People don’t quit companies they quit bosses’.” How many times have you heard that quote? I hear it all the time because it is true! If you are a leader that doesn’t care, then why should your team? You want to be connected and engaged with your employees. Let them know how much they mean to you and the company.

Giving gifts aren’t the only way to recognize the hard work and dedication of your team. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty if your team needs it. This shows them that you are a great leader and you want to be a part of the team rather than the person that cuts their paycheck every week or every other week. Just doing this one little thing will make your team feel more comfortable to approach you when they have an issue that needs to be addressed. They will be willing to share their ideas with you and will be more productive.

Employee-of-the-month rewards are a great way to acknowledge your top performers as well. Another thing I see some companies doing is offering PTO for those that meet their goals for the month or quarter. The point is, employees want to have something that keeps them excited to come to work every day and they want goals to reach for. If you are a leader that isn’t aware or has no interest in learning about their team then you will have a higher turnover than your competitors. Think let an employee not an employer and you will be able to better connect with your team. Think about how you would want to be treated or acknowledged and find creative ways to make that happen. Your employees will thank you for that.