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The Role of Employee Recognition in Boosting Workplace Morale

08/23/2023 worklife

The U.S. has seen a profound shift in corporate culture – one where employees refuse to stay in roles or work for organizations that make them feel undervalued and underappreciated.

A paycheck, a yearly bonus, and a pat on the back used to be enough for some; but now, a positive work environment that regularly recognizes the skill, effort and output of employees is non-negotiable for many. To ensure a talented workforce filled with happy and motivated employees, it’s essential that your company invests in the right recognition strategies and custom products being used as employee gifts.

Why Employee Recognition Plays a Vital Role in Workplace Morale

Whether it’s a simple thank-you note or a personalized gift, finding ways to implement regular employee recognition is vital to maintaining morale, boosting productivity, retaining talent and establishing your company as a top employer. Additionally, according to Great Place to Work, people who feel recognized at work are:

  • 2.6x more likely to think that promotions are fair
  • 2.2x more likely to drive innovation and bring new ideas forward
  • 2.0x more likely to say people here are willing to go above and beyond

On a larger scale, employee recognition directly affects company performance and revenue. The happier and more motivated an employee is, the harder they’re going to work to keep their job and drive success in their role. Awards and appreciation gifts also give employees something to work toward, and companies can strategically align employee gift giving with greater business goals.

What are Some Proven Strategies for Employee Recognition to Elevate Morale?

Employee Recognition Gifts for Years of Service

Milestone recognition programs are one of the most popular forms of recognition, celebrating milestones like years of service, or professional growth. These recognition programs are usually high visibility and reward at companies, gifting employees with vacations, tech devices or other high-end gifts to show appreciation for their major accomplishments.

However, while widely embraced, a modern and holistic recognition strategy is essential to elevating morale. Balancing milestone acknowledgments with day-to-day appreciation ensures a well-rounded approach that ensures long-lasting motivation and engagement.

Peer Recognition Programs

Peer recognition programs are just as effective at elevating morale as managerial or company recognition, if not more so. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), being recognized by your peers makes 90% of employees more satisfied with their work.

These programs typically allow employees to nominate their own teammates for a job-well done, which allows employees to feel seen and valued by the people they work with every day. This can foster a culture of collaboration and positivity in the workplace, and can also lead to employee recognition on a more regular basis.

Small Win Celebrations

There’s no need for employee recognition to be tied to major KPIs and milestones alone. In fact, celebrating small victories in the workplace can lead to more frequent and unexpected recognition, boosting employee morale and motivation. This could include showing appreciation for someone’s daily tasks that often go unnoticed, someone’s help training new employees, or simply being a team player.

This practice not only creates a positive and uplifting work environment, but also spotlights overlooked contributors who may do most of their work behind the scenes, granting them recognition for their behind-the-scenes efforts. There are several inexpensive swag bag ideas that are budget friendly while making these small wins feel big.

Show Your Gratitude: Innovative Employee Gifts for Appreciation

Whatever recognition strategy you decide to implement, you’re going to need a few thoughtful and personalized corporate employee gift ideas to go with it. While company apparel, tech and gift certificates can work well, here are a few out-of-the-box ideas to think on.

Lunch with a Leader

Treating employees to lunch with a leader is a meaningful experience and appreciation gift. It gives employees the opportunity to personally interact with some of the most important people at the company, and shows their hard work is seen and appreciated by C-suite executives.

Plus, it encourages connection between leaders and individual contributors, leading to a more collaborative culture. Beyond sponsoring the meal itself, you can also give personalized company gear to employees attending this lunch, such as custom lunch boxes or reusable utensils.

Team Trophies

Nothing boosts productivity and motivation like some friendly competition! You can create custom trophies for your team or department, then come up with a few contests to host throughout the fiscal year.

These could be as straightforward as an “Employee of the Month” award, or it could be performance based, such as rewarding the team that achieves the highest sales at the end of a quarter. Whoever wins gets to proudly display the trophy on their desk – and will probably win some company swag too.

Boost Workplace Morale with Employee Appreciation Gifts from Staples Promo

Looking for more corporate employee gift ideas? Explore employee recognition gifts for years of service, major milestones, small celebrations and more with Staples Promo. We have more than 2,500 products to choose from, and designing your promotional products or corporate gifts takes only a few minutes.

Explore Branded Employee Gifts