Your sales team. Your administrative assistants. Your product development department.

When most business executives think of their employees, they categorize them by some form of “bucket” that common to their company or industry. They do this mostly because it makes sense and it is easy to think of an “employee” as a part of a collective group.
Recognizing the achievements of these employee groups is common. Contests and incentives are used to motivate and encourage employees to work together with their teams toward success.
However, employees want individual recognition – not only for their achievements at work but for their unique skills and abilities.
Why is Individual Recognition Important? According to a Gallup study, employees are twice as likely to quit when they feel they are unrecognized and under-appreciated. Employee recognition, however, is more than simply giving praise for every minor thing your employee does at work.
It can include saying “Hello”, taking time to ask about out of work activities, and/or recognizing birthdays. These simple measures communicate to employees that they are valued as an individual as well as being an important team member.
The High Cost of Disengagement Unhappy and unengaged employees can have a detrimental effect on both company morale and success. According to recent studies, disengaged employees cost businesses in North America over $350 billion in lost productivity annually. Increasing employee engagement should be a priority for any business executive wishing to improve corporate success.
Engaged employees are more productive, more successful and more motivated to perform well at work. As a result, their company benefits and has higher levels of success.
Employees who reported that they felt engaged at work also reported that they felt valued and appreciated. With only 25% of Canadian employees reporting being engaged at work, it is safe to say that a majority of businesses need to improve their employee engagement.
Employers who wish to transform their business can start by implementing a plan to recognize employees, both collectively and individually.
Need some simple ideas you can start this week?
Peer Recognition Support and recognition don’t always need to come from supervisors to be effective. By creating a culture where peers are able to recognize and acknowledge the efforts of others, employees can feel valued and supported easily.
Wall of Fame Create a recognition wall where team members can display their appreciation to others in a simple, fun way. Set up can be as simple as post-it notes on a white board or as elaborate as a photo wall where employees can use a selfie station to take fun photos with the individual they’re “appreciating”.
Social Badges Help spread enthusiasm and appreciation by creating a social badges program. Make it easy (and fun) for employees to collect badges and reach achievement levels. Online tools are available (like Recognize, Kudos or others) or you can create your own simple program for employees to use.
Appreciation Parties Who doesn’t love a good party? Schedule team lunches, after-work socials or other events that focus on employee appreciation and achievement. Hosting small group functions allow for business leaders to spend time engaging with employees on a more personal scale and can help develop rapport between employees.
Looking for ways to improve employee engagement? Find ways to increase employee recognition. Embracing the diversity of your workplace can improve the culture of your business and help to optimize your workforce.
Instead of treating your employees as a general group, find ways to recognize the individual strengths, personalities, education and skills that your team contains. Not only will it build engagement, it will allow you to use their strengths to promote synergy within your organization. How can you implement individual recognition for your employees?
Michele Bailey is president and CEO of Blazing Agency and My Big Idea®. These two lines of business work congruently to support her clients’ success.

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