Public Service Recognition Week (May 7-13) leads off the month; Memorial Day (May 29) caps it off; and a tribute to our teachers (May 9) and mothers is in between (May 14). What a great month to reflect on how we recognize the contributions of the people who work with and for us!

The benefits seem obvious and the effort seems like it would be easy. Research shows that employee recognition programs reduce turnover, improve the workforce culture and performance and recognition reinforces why we do what we do — to make a difference for our clients and our employers.

In this time of spare budgets and unparalleled pressures on our military, public servants and employees in many sectors, here are a few tips to upping your commitment to employee recognition.

1. Empower employees and managers to design a multi-part program – some offered spontaneously, based on specific achievement, and some to recognize a sustained contribution, such as quarterly performance measures.

2. Make the criteria clear and eligibility available to all.

3. Make the recognition public. Whatever the actual award might be (and it doesn’t have to be large), acknowledge the achievement in public – preferably in person at an event such as at an all-hands meeting.

4. Make the recognition as close to the achievement as possible.

5. With or without a specific recognition program, always remember to say “thank you.” When someone has done something well, been especially helpful, and/or made a conscious effort to contribute, a sincere “thank you” goes a long way.