System Administrators are some of the most vital positions in tech, and it’s wonderful that just recently on July 26th it was System Administrator Appreciation Day. While it’s great to have different days singled out for different types of positions, it raises an important question: how are you celebrating all your employees regardless of their role? Nearly 70% of employees work harder when they feel their efforts are appreciated. Luckily, there are many ways to recognize your team and boost your employee appreciation program.

1. Implement Employee of the Month Programs

These traditional employee appreciation programs choose a single employee to take the spotlight for a given time period, typically a month or quarter. This can be voted on by the entire company, managers, or the c-suite. Photos and biographies are often showcased, and a reward such as a prime parking spot or nominal bonus is common.

2. Feature Online Employee Spotlights

A company website is a fun place to showcase employees, but these days social media has the most impact on recognition. The best part is that you don’t have to wait for an employee to formally win an infrequent award to showcase them on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram. Feature employees for many reasons like anniversaries, birthdays, hitting a goal, going above and beyond their role, or just for being awesome. Once their friends and family start commenting and liking the posts, your employee will feel an exponential growth of appreciation.

3. Grant Bonuses

Cash may be a universally welcomed gift, but bonuses can take many forms. Perhaps the highest performer on a team receives a gift card. Maybe everyone who hits a certain threshold of work output receives a gift bag that changes each month. Even something valued at $10 can be a heartwarming gesture, so bonuses do not have to break the bank to count.

4. Hold Prize Drawings

Never underestimate the power of a great game show. However you choose to conduct it, hold random prize drawings periodically. Perhaps employees draw names out of a hat to see who wins. Maybe you can create a small Plinko type game board like the Price Is Right and allow a ball to land on an employee’s name. Let’s Make a Deal can be further inspiration with employees choosing between two secret prizes where one is a bag of chips and the other is a $25 Applebee’s gift card. Whatever the case, the point is to have fun while rewarding people for simply being at work.

5. Leverage Gamification

Creating a reward when certain role responsibilities are completed can motivate employees while making them feel appreciated. If you have a sales team, whoever closes the most sales in a month could receive one extra day of time off. If you have a call center, maybe whoever logged the most calls in a given week gets to start work half an hour later the following Monday. The parameters and rewards are practically infinite, so get creative and brainstorm what your employees will enjoy the most.

6. Start Competitions

Take gamification to the next level by creating various competitions based on skills completely outside of your roles. March Madness brackets and Super Bowl squares are common sports-related competitions, while fitness, step, and reading challenges are popular as well. If your employees love to cook, consider a chili cook off. Allowing employees to showcase personal hobbies and skills helps them feel celebrated and valued even if you don’t give out a big prize to the winners.

7. Do the Small Things

Employee appreciation doesn’t always have to be a big production. There are small opportunities every day where a minor gesture can make a big impact. Send employees home a few minutes early once in a while just to beat traffic. Tell them to take a longer lunch or to finish work from home the rest of the afternoon. Give them a $5 gift card to Starbucks and tell them they deserve a half hour break and drink on you.

8. Give Them Your Time

They say time is one’s most valuable resource, so give it to your employees. Check in with them outside of formal meetings and give them a chance to voice their concerns, problems, big wins, opinions, or to simply chat about life for ten minutes. Giving them your time shows that you value them – and makes you more accessible.

How to Recognize Your Employees

Companies that succeed at celebrating their employees enjoy 31% lower turnover, proving just how important these programs can be. Of course, there’s no formula that works for every single organization. Your company’s employee recognition program must be uniquely tailored to your environment, roles, and people. Experiment with some of the above tips in combination with your own unique ideas and you’ll keep employees productive and, most importantly, happy.

What employee appreciation initiatives have worked in your company? Let us know in the comments below!

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