If employee engagement and retention are your biggest concerns, you're not alone

According to a survey from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), employee engagement will be the biggest HR challenge employers face in the next three to five years.

The concern ranked "very important," topping the list for 69 percent of HR professionals. Close on its heels was employee retention (63 percent), followed by employee recruitment (53 percent) and culture management (51 percent).

Luckily, 80 percent of the HR professionals who participated in the survey also shared that their companies have an employee recognition program. This is good news because recognition can be a big factor in whether or not employees are "plugged in" and, as a result, loyal. It's all related: Recognition feeds engagement, and engagement feeds retention.

Looking for ways to motivate your employees? Here are 10 simple ideas to ramp up your recognition efforts:

1. Leave a handwritten thank you card at their desk.

2. Appeal to their sweet tooth. Chocolate, candy and cookies always do the trick.

3. Buy them a small gift certificate to their favorite coffee shop.

4. Invite them to join you for lunch.

5. Sit down with them and have a sincere, non-work related conversation.

6. Recognize a star employee’s recent efforts at a company meeting, and give the employee a personalized certificate to mark the moment.

7. Find small gifts for hard-working employees to keep at their desk. Anything from fun-shaped sticky notes to a smart-looking pen will work.

8. Create an event. Have a crazy hat day or favorite sports team day; give an award for the best dressed.

9. Bring breakfast to the office.

10. Call employees into your office to tell them what a great job they’ve been doing lately.

Remember what Zig Ziglar once said, “People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily.”

It’s up to you to motivate your employees on a daily basis. Even something as small as a thank you note can go a long way.

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