Employee recognition can have a large and positive impact on employee retention. Finding ways to recognize the hard work of your employees doesn’t have to be difficult, complicated or time-consuming.
Besides aiding retention because it’s good for morale, employee recognition is also good for your bottom line. According to an article published by the Global Journal of Human-Social Science, 69% of employees said they would work harder if they felt their work was better recognized. Click To Tweet 
One easy way to recognize employees? Say ‘happy birthday!’
I was recently cleaning out my car when I stumbled across a birthday card I received from the clinic I currently work at. I had tucked it down between the seats because looking at it made me happy.
This card reminded me of a large, specialty clinic I worked at many years ago. For every employee’s birthday, staff were expected to contribute $5 or $10 towards a birthday fund and sign a card. Then, on that individual’s birthday, they would get a nice monetary bonus, plus a card full of wishes and maybe their lunch bought.
It sounds nice in theory. The problem was that the expectation wasn’t enforced. Some birthdays were celebrated, and others were not. I was an outsider there and so when my birthday rolled around…crickets! No card, no extra cash. Barely any birthday wishes. In all honesty, it was kind of humiliating and one of the many reasons I left that clinic.
There’s a right way and a wrong way to show recognition
For the several years that I have been at Fort Caroline Animal Clinic, I have cherished the birthday celebrations that my co-manager instituted long ago. For everyone’s birthday a card is passed around for staff to sign and a treat is either made or bought for the staff member.
Every staff member is recognized in the same way on their special day, so nobody feels the humiliation I did back when I was working at that specialty clinic! A word of caution, though. While you want to reward staff equally, don’t reward them so abundantly that they develop a sense of entitlement. If you get in the habit of rewarding every good deed, they’ll come to expect it and it just won’t have the same impact.
Any occasion is a good occasion for employee recognition
You don’t have to wait for somebody’s birthday to recognize them and make them feel special. Employee recognition can be as simple as a quick ‘thank-you’ or ‘job well done’ after a hard day’s work. Click To Tweet  Personal milestones, such as the purchase of a new home, a wedding or a graduation, are also good opportunities to take employees aside, show some genuine interest in their lives, and acknowledge the value they provide to your clinic.
Personally, my favorite reason to recognize employees is “just because!” The majority of corporate-driven recognition programs focus on tenure, but staff shouldn’t have to reach their 5th or 10th work anniversary or achieve tenure to know they’re appreciated.
A workforce study conducted by Globoforce found that 70% of employees don’t feel that gamification is a good form of recognition.(1) Click To Tweet  In fact, they feel it can actually have a negative impact on morale. So, instead of using reward boards or a points system, consider the following.
5 morale-boosting employee recognition tactics for your practice
- Mail a hand-written thank-you note to an employee’s home
- Treat an employee to lunch out with the manager or practice owner
- Give employees a scratch-off ticket or $5 gift card to local fast-food restaurants
- Allow employees to earn paid time off (PTO). At my practice, we offer one day of PTO per quarter in exchange for zero tardiness.
- If your practice is solicited to sponsor a local event, consider saying yes! We use these opportunities to purchase tickets in bulk at a discounted rate and give them to employees as rewards. Not only do staff love the chance to do something off the clock on the clinic’s dime, but if the event is considered charitable, the cost could be considered a tax write-off.
Last but not least, like I said earlier, remember – a personal thank-you can go a long way!
Which method will you use to recognize your employees?
Why not try them all? Your employees and your clinic will surely benefit from the morale boost that recognition can provide. Just be sure to keep your recognition strategies fresh and exciting so that employees remain engaged.
|Speaking of employee engagement, VetSuccess offers a free Forward-Booking Staff Meeting in a Box . It includes a fun Bingo-style game designed to help practices lower lapsed patient rates. It’s been said the team that plays together, stays together. Check it out!|
Wendy Jureski, CCFE has worked in veterinary medicine for more than 20 years. She is the business manager at a small veterinary practice in Jacksonville, FL. She is also a Social Media Manager for a website design firm that supports clients in the veterinary industry. You can reach Wendy at email@example.com .
1 When Money is not a Motivating Force in the Work Place