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Employee recognition is one of the keys to keeping your team members motivated. When employees do good work, they want to feel their boss sees it and appreciates it; recognition, whether through words of affirmation or through bonuses and incentives, can truly boost morale.

Then again, it can also lead to problems—that is, if there is any perception of favoritism. The question is, how can you pursue employee recognition without leading to hurt feelings or jealous notions?

Here are a few tips you can use in your own employee recognition efforts.

Employee Recognition Ideas

Do it privately. Hoisting a big Employee of the Month trophy in front of the whole office can naturally lead to some resentment; by contrast, offering recognition privately can be more personal and meaningful to the employee in question, while helping you avoid any signs of favoritism or unfairness.

Plan an activity. One way to offer employee recognition? Plan a dinner, a party, or some other social gathering—and make it accessible to any employee who performs above a certain level.

Recognize the top 10 percent. Another approach you might take: Once a year, pause to recognize the top 10 percent, performance-wise, of your employee base. Make sure there is a clear, black-and-white metric by which you’re assessing performance, and that your employees all know what it is. Personalize rewards, but ensure they are all equal in value.

Be clear about expectations. If your company does end-of-year bonuses, or other forms of recognition, make sure you explain how those bonuses are earned. Set the expectations early—during the hiring and onboarding processes, even.

Motivational Techniques for Your Employees

The bottom line? You can’t forsake employee recognition. Neither should you do it without concern for fairness. Make sure you have an employee recognition system in place that’s honest, transparent, and meaningful.

I’d love to talk with you more about how you can keep your team members engaged. To learn more, reach out to me as soon as possible!