Employee Acknowledgement at a Startup: Communicate Your Worker’s Value

January 16, 2022

Remembering to recognize employees can be a struggle for every type of business, but a scrappy startup faces a steeper challenge. In a startup, your employees may be few but each is wearing a variety of hats. You rely on your employees to act like owners and rise to the occasion, but employee acknowledgement can quickly fall by the wayside as more urgent tasks top your list.

In this current employee’s climate, it’s critical that owners take the time to notice and reward effective employees. The numbers are showing us that if we don’t—they’ll go somewhere else where they’re appreciated. So how do you allocate the precious startup resources of time and money to keep your employees happy? Kudoboard specializes in expressing appreciation, and has some great ideas that will help you maintain healthy workplace morale.

Personal Thank-Yous
You expect your employees to do their job. That’s what you’re paying them for, right? Surely they don’t need to be thanked for completing their job description tasks. Maybe not. But it could mean the difference between a Great Resignation and an employee who advocates for you. Create a culture of gratitude by training managers to personally thank their direct reports for regular tasks. It’s a fast and free way to acknowledge the people who keep the lights on.

Get Feedback
What’s the best way to reward your employees? I don’t know. You should ask them. Seriously. Ask your employees what rewards, perks, or other forms of acknowledgement would mean the most to them. You may be surprised at their answers. Provide a range of options, such as 401(k) contributions, regular catered meals, stipends for a gym membership or childcare, 4 day workweeks, and more. But the most important part is delivering.

Money Money Money
It’s hard to go wrong with cold, hard cash. A startup might not have the infrastructure in place to offer big box benefits, but monetary recognition can be a straightforward reward. Whether it’s a raise, a bonus, or a profit-sharing agreement it can show your employees you appreciate them and that your incentives are aligned.

Company-wide Appreciation
Startups can be incredibly close-knit, but there are also high degrees of specialization. It can be hard to know exactly what other employees or departments are up to. Everyone benefits from sharing accomplishments and learning what’s going on in other areas of the company. Shout-outs in a company-wide meeting can be an important way to provide acknowledgement of notable achievements, and so can shout-outs on social media accounts.

Recognize Non-Work Wins
Your employees have rich lives outside of their employment, yet they choose to spend most of their time working for your business. The least you can do is embrace all of who they are. Make it a point to recognize wins, losses, special occasions, and other fun developments in your employees’ private lives. Start with birthdays (send around a group ecard) and then branch into Get Well Soons, congratulations on new babies, cheering on marathons, celebrating buying a new house, and sympathy for losses. Connecting with coworkers over personal lives is a fantastic way to help employees feel seen and like they belong.

Worth the Effort
Startups run at a breakneck pace, with high levels of trust and expectation. If you want to retain your quality employees, you must match with high levels of acknowledgement. Employee recognition is a critical part of startup success and growth through the early stages, and it is absolutely worth every effort to make it happen in your business.

Kudoboard is a virtual re-imagining of the group card that gets passed around the office and signed. Kudoboards support messages, videos, GIFs, pictures, and more—in an affordable digital format. Try Kudoboard for Business free today.

—by Bree Ogaldez

SEM Nexus is an award-winning startup app agency focused on building and marketing mobile apps for startups. We live, breathe and dream startups. They are our life, our passion. Let us help you make your dream into a reality.

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