Keeping employees engaged, motivated, and happy at an organization isn’t always easy. It could be challenging at the best of times, but is rendered daunting by the significant changes many industries are facing at the present time. Add to that the problem of recruiting and retention and you have a recipe for disaster. Thankfully, it doesn’t need to be that way. There is a surefire way to help employees thrive and grow at an organization while keeping them engaged. Known as employee recognition, it’s a way to build a sense of community among employees while helping them be more productive and work better as a team. Whether you already have a recognition program in place or are searching the marketplace for one right now, here are a few ways to improve employee engagement and retention using specialized recognition tools.

Social Recognition

When it comes to recognizing employees, doing it socially is probably the most powerful way to accomplish the goal. Recognizing employees for a job well done, hitting it important milestone, a promotion, or pretty much anything you can think of is a great way to build morale and engagement with them. Employees are much more likely to perform at higher levels, be happy and fulfilled, and work harder/do extra things for the company if they feel that the organization actually cares about them. Integrating recognition platforms like Workhuman workplace solutions can increase productivity, boost morale, and ultimately help retain top talent for a long time to come.

Continuous Performance Management

A relatively new approach to performance appraisal and evaluation is the concept of continuous performance management (CPM). In CPM, the focus is more on the individual and how they perform regularly instead of giving them a twice per year assessment. It allows employees to be constantly recognized for their good work, which can lead to a more motivated and engaged workforce. CPM lets managers provide feedback more frequently in addition to participating in recognition. That leads to higher satisfaction and insurers employees are meeting the organization standards for quality, productivity, and meeting deadlines. In this manner, it works both ways to ensure employees and employers are getting the most out of the relationship.

Recognizing Milestones

Achieving milestones at work—whether it’s completing a particularly difficult project or landing a wonderful new client—momentous occasion for most teams. When commemorating milestones, consider what the achievement means to the team. Then take the time to commemorate and celebrate it. A small gesture like sending out an email or taking everyone to lunch/out for drinks can make a big difference for milestone commemoration. The value of recognizing milestones is intrinsically linked to an overall positive feeling among teams, so be sure to recognize them and don’t let them pass by without making a note. Your employees will be more engaged and happier if you do.

Celebrating Important Anniversaries

You want to show you care about an employee and help build a stronger team, try celebrating their anniversary. First year anniversary is one of the most pivotal of anybody’s career. By that time, top talent might decide to leave a company if they’re not happy. Showing them you care and that you value their contributions is essential to keeping them with your organization. Plus, celebrating an anniversary and showing appreciation is never a bad thing. You can send a personalized card or email congratulating them for their work. You could host a celebration or event when they’re honor, offering cake and refreshments. Don’t give them a pizza party or something insulting. Make it meaningful. A small gift like an Amazon gift card can go a long way toward building morale. Highlighting and spotlighting some of their accomplishments throughout the company culture and on social recognition platforms can also be a great way to celebrate their work. At the end of the day, celebrating an anniversary is wonderful for morale and retention, so it’s a good idea to incorporate it into your employee recognition model as soon as possible (if you’re not already doing it).

Employee Surveys

Surveys can offer a window into the minds and perceptions of your employees. There are many different kinds of employee surveys. By asking employees about their thoughts and feelings on various aspects of their work, companies can get an idea what’s working—and what isn’t. Afterward, they can use the information to make changes that will help increase employee satisfaction and engagement. Some types of surveys to use at your organization, like baseline engagement surveys can take some time and might not provide the results you need.

Pulse surveys—short and direct surveys that are designed to be user-friendly—can be a quick means of getting staff feedback fast. Longer engagement surveys might also be useful. It ultimately just depends on your company, sample size, and what you’re hoping to learn. Regardless of the type of survey you use, you’re just trying to understand how your employees feel. Survey questions should reflect that mission and be tailored to elicit responses without being biased, leading, or loaded.