Employee recognition is not just a nice thing to do for our employees. Employee recognition is a communication tool that reinforces and rewards the most important outcomes employees create for our business.

When we recognize people effectively, we reinforce, with our chosen means of recognition, the actions and behaviors we most want to see our employees repeat. An effective employee recognition system is simple, immediate, and powerfully reinforcing.

People also like recognition that is random and that provides an element of surprise. If you thank your group every time they make customer deliveries on time with a lunch, gradually the lunch becomes a "given" or an entitlement and is no longer rewarding.

In another company, a manager traditionally bought lunch for all his employees every Friday. Soon, he had employees coming to him asking to be reimbursed for lunch if they ate lunch outside of the company on a Friday. His goal of team building turned into a "given" or an entitlement and he was disappointed with the results.

You can tell your colleagues, co-workers and employees how much you value them and their contribution any day of the year. Trust occasion is necessary. In fact, small surprises and tokens of your appreciation spread throughout the year help the people in your workplace feel valued all year long.

Looking for ideas about how to praise and thank co-workers and employees? Here are several ways to show your appreciation: