I think it is great when companies honor their employees for their hard work and dedication. An award given in recognition to an employee for a job well done can mean more now than ever before, especially since people are down both emotionally and financially all over the country.

There is plenty of sentiment to be had in earning a reward as well. I still look at the girl’s basketball MPV plaque I got my senior year in high school (we won’t say how many years ago), and it just makes me smile every time I see it.

My husband recently received his own award from his employer. He says he is embarrassed to display it, but I don’t think he really is. I put it up right front and center on our bookshelf to show how proud of him we are for all his hard work and dedication to not only his employer, but for bringing home an income and a great way of life for his family.

plaque award

Achievement and corporate awards can take on added importance during tough economic times, and as an employee I know it is a great feeling to be recognized. As a business owner, I know it is important to make sure my employees get the recognition they deserve.

Nine additional ways to Boost Employee Morale:

1. Be clear and transparent

Employees need to feel as though they can discuss everything with their bosses — even the negative news.

2. Know how they work 

As a manager it’s your job to make sure everyone on your team is being as productive as possible, even if you have to treat everyone a little bit differently to do so. The more effective you are at flexing your managing style, the more effectively your employees will carry out their assignments.

3. Real-time feedback

Instead of yearly reviews, employees now want feedback and they want it often — especially the younger workers.

4. Encourage strengths  

If you have a star performer who’s great at hands-on presentations, don’t have them only work on preliminary research.

5. Let them take the reins  

It may be in your nature to micromanage, but sometimes employees want to be the ones in control, so don’t stand over their shoulders all the time.

6. Offer incentives

This can be anything from working half-days, parking spaces, free lunches, giving out awards, or even working from home.

7. Give them room to grow

One of the key ways to increase morality is to make sure your employees understand their chances in upward mobility.

8. Encourage work breaks

Remind everyone to take breaks, work goes much faster when you are refreshed and ready to take on an assignment after a break and it keeps employees from going stir crazy.

9. Smile more

Staff will read your mood as clues about performance and job security. So, smile more often, talk about fun things like hobbies with employees, or crack a joke –in good taste.

Read more at businessinsider.com and entrepeneur.com