Employee recognition can be given in many ways—by saying thank you, giving praise, providing opportunity, or showing respect. Many studies on the work place have shown that being recognized for achievements, knowing that one’s contributions matter to the organization, and the opportunity for growth and professional development have a considerable impact on employee satisfaction, morale, and commitment.
The following are suggestions related to recognition in general and also for organizing departmental celebrations.
1. Be Sincere
The purpose of employee service recognition is to express appreciation to employees for years of service. A few sincere words of appreciation are often worth more to the employee than an expensive gift. Genuine appreciation, frequently and sincerely expressed throughout employment, reiterated on the anniversary date is especially important for creating a culture of recognition. And special celebrations for employees on special anniversaries help to significantly enhance your culture of recognition.
Research has shown that employees need more than just a good paycheck to feel good about their job. Feeling appreciated is very, very important. Feeling unappreciated is a major reason why people leave organizations. Happy employees tend to feel appreciated. A great employee service recognition program entails maintaining a culture of caring about employees, and expressing appreciation for their years of service.
2. Remember Employee Anniversaries
Most employees remember their hire date. Great managers do, too. It's the career equivalent of a birthday. We recommend acknowledging each employee's anniversary every year. Make it personal, with a card, letter, phone call, personal visit or some other gesture. It doesn't have to be formal, just a genuine expression of appreciation. A few sincere words from management will be noticed and appreciated by an employee. To be successful with this annual endeavor, create a system for remembering anniversaries.
3. Do Something Special on the Anniversary Day
Many organization and companies group employees together and celebrate their anniversaries quarterly, monthly or even annually. While they are on the right track by celebrating employment anniversaries, it can be even better to recognize employees on their actual anniversary dates.
Nothing beats a special presentation to the employee on the actual anniversary date. If the anniversary date does not fall on a work day, or if for logistical reasons it is difficult to arrange a special presentation on the actual date, try to recognize the employee as close to the date as possible.
4. On Special Anniversaries (5th, 10th, 15th, etc.), Employees will Receive a Gift
The University recognizes the importance of marking a special milestone with an award in addition to words of appreciation. As noted above, each employee will be formally honored for service every 5th year of service and will be provided with the opportunity to select a gift from a broad spectrum of items found by accessing the online Employee Recognition Store. This new store categorizes award selections under “specific years of service” buttons. The gift offerings increase in value according to an employee’s years of service with the University. When entering the store, an employee will click on the button that corresponds to the years for which he/she is being honored. For example, if one is being recognized for 25 years of service, that employee will click on the “25 Years” button to shop and choose a personalized gift. After selection, gifts will be sent to supervisors so a departmental ceremony can be scheduled by the supervisor.
5. Present your Gift in a Nice, Personal Presentation
Employee service recognition isn’t about just giving a gift and getting it over with. As a sincere expression of appreciation, there is a right way and a wrong way of presenting your gift. The supervisor should schedule a time and place appropriate for recognition. This might be at a staff meeting, special departmental ceremony, luncheon with colleagues, or another type of occasion that fits with the departmental culture. If bringing a dessert to work to share with co-workers or joining colleagues for lunch is part of your normal departmental culture and the supervisor wishes to treat the honoree, certainly this is a very nice way to show appreciation. However, recognition at a staff meeting is certainly appropriate as an alternative since some departments are quite large and bringing desserts or taking honorees to lunch might not be feasible for a supervisor. If a department considers using departmental funds for catering, it must be preapproved by the Vice President of your respective unit. Otherwise these funds should not be used for this purpose. If approved by the VP, MSU’s contracted catering services must be utilized. No off-campus reimbursements for luncheons, etc. will be honored. With regard to the presentation, supervisors are encouraged to invite senior management to share in the festivities as an employee's years of service increases. When doing so, update upper level managers about significant contributions the employee has made ahead of time and invite these managers to make some remarks as well.
6. Make your Presentations in Front of Co-Workers
Whether it’s a special department luncheon or a 15-minute break during the workday, it is very important to recognize employees in front of co-workers. It's also a good idea to let the employee and co-workers know about the presentation in advance, and have a photo taken of the employee with his or her co-workers at the presentation. This has many benefits. First, it involves co-workers in the act of recognizing and celebrating the special milestone. And second, it reinforces to other employees the awareness that employees are appreciated, and that length of service is valued.
7. Submit the Pictures to Human Resources
As indicated above, we encourage you to take a picture at the recognition ceremony and provide a copy to the employee for a keepsake. An employee will likely appreciate you providing him/her with a picture of the important milestone. If a picture is taken, consider sending an electronic version to Human Resources for publication on the Employee Service Recognition web page. Space on the web page has been reserved for a picture slideshow, spotlighting and acknowledging the service commitment of our employees. Before submission to Human Resources, be sure to obtain permission from the employee.
8. Make the Presentations Individualized
As supervisors, we know every employee is different. Although most employees will enjoy recognition in front of co-workers, make an assessment about recognizing an employee in a public way. Again, most employees will appreciate being recognized in this way and the ceremony will make them feel special. However, there are some employees that aren’t comfortable in a setting where all eyes are upon them. If you believe that an employee might not like such a presentation, don’t hesitate to ask the employee if he/she minds being recognized at a departmental celebration. No matter what type of presentation is decided upon, it is still important to make each employee feel special on his/her anniversary. If the recognition is done in a more private manner, ensure you take the time to express your particular thanks and gratitude.
9. Cultivate an Ongoing Culture of Recognition
Help make it part of our University’s culture to notice and recognize employees. It's a wonderful gesture to celebrate employee anniversaries, but it's even more wonderful to also frequently celebrate employee successes, accomplishments and contributions as a part of our culture. Creating this kind of culture will help make Morehead State University the best regional institution of the South.
Annual Picnic & Recognition
The Annual Employee Appreciation Picnic for Morehead State University employees is held in the spring of each year, giving faculty and staff the opportunity to come together to enjoy lunch on our beautiful campus and share with one another the camaraderie. For live entertainment at the event, the musicians from our Center for Traditional Music will entertain us in a casual and friendly atmosphere which offers a perfect opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of each of our employees at Morehead State University over the past year. This picnic has become a yearly tradition, sponsored by Morehead State University administrators and the Office of Human Resources, to recognize the hard work of all MSU employees in their achievements, accomplishments and dedicated service. Although becoming the best regional university requires commitment and hard work, time out for events like this bring us together as one big family that cares deeply for one another and especially our students.
In addition to normal activities, our new service award programming includes special recognition at the picnic for employees celebrating 20+ years of full-time service. Our President, Dr. Wayne Andrews, will spotlight each faculty and staff member for their long-term employment, providing special gratitude and recognition.
For new employees, we look forward to you becoming part of our family and tradition at Morehead State University. And, for returning employees, we’ll be happy to celebrate another coming together. We look forward to seeing your smiles and hearing your laughter!