With Thanksgiving just behind us and the winter holidays approaching, thanking your employees for all they do should be top of mind! But employee appreciation isn’t a one-and-done deal.

employee appreciation means saying "thank you"!

Employee appreciation is a year-round commitment. As this year winds down, why not take stock of your current employee recognition program — what went well this year? What could have been done better? How are you going to continue to build employee engagement and happiness in 2015?

According to Bob Nelson and Patrick Dailey in “Four Steps for Evaluating Recognition Programs,” it’s critical to define specific, measurable goals for your employee appreciation program and measure progress toward them.

Discern first whether your program is effective. Do the ends justify the means — your time, effort, and expenses? Determine a baseline and measure improvement from there. If you don’t have baseline measurements in place, now’s the time to establish them for next year.

Nelson and Dailey recommend four levels of measurement.

  • Level 1: Reaction. How do employees like the program? 
  • Level 2: Learning. Do employees understand how to use the recognition program and why they should recognize others?
  • Level 3: Behavior. Do managers recognize employees and are workers recognizing each other?
  • Level 4: Results. Has organizational performance improved since the program’s advent?

Surveys and quizzes are reliable tools for measuring reaction and comprehension. Tracking systems –either manual or automated — can measure behavior and results.

You can also measure the number of awards earned for specific behaviors or performance the employee appreciation program is designed to reinforce. These might include:

  • Customer service awards that improve attention and care given to customers
  • Team awards that reinforce cooperation and cross-department efforts
  • Safety programs that reduce on-the-job injuries
  • Quality award systems that enhance product quality
  • On-the-Spot recognition rewards that reinforce desired company values such as great customer service experiences

As Nelson and Dailey write:

“The more that recognition activities and programs are geared toward driving significant organizational performance and strategic results, the easier it is to justify funds to support the programs. We all want to have recognition programs that are liked, easy to learn and readily applied back on the job.”

In “5 Ways Leaders Rock Employee Recognition,” Meghan Biro names the five key elements of effective employee appreciation programs:

  1. Timeliness. Catch people doing exemplary work and acknowledge their efforts in the moment!
  2. Context. Tie recognition to a business goal.
  3. Appropriate volume/scale. Recognition should match effort and results, or it loses meaning.
  4. Authenticity. You have to mean it when you give employees recognition.
  5. Tied to the employee’s perception of value. Your appreciation should give people a good idea of their value to the organization.

Should you show employee appreciation this throughout the holidays? By all means! But remember to evaluate your recognition program’s effectiveness so you can learn and implement an even better one for next year. 


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 About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.
gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.
gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick Kiley, Chief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
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