"Millennials are accustomed to attention and praise from their earliest days and expect regular affirmation in the workplace. They are also prepared to switch jobs earlier and more frequently than previous generations, so employers need to take particular steps to maintain Millennial engagement," said Rodney Mason, GVP of Marketing with Blackhawk Engagement Solutions, an international incentives and engagement company.

Remember when continued employment and a steady paycheck was enough of a reward for a job well done? If you replied no, there’s a good chance you were born after 1982. If you’re shaking your head and proclaiming, “Hear, hear! Those were the good old days,” you’ve got the old right in that statement. Millennials will make up over 75% of the workforce by 2025. Take a look at your workforce and understand that recognition must now go beyond a paycheck!

Millennials don’t just expect recognition, they demand it. Work environments devoid of pathways for praise will find themselves with a revolving door. Millennials move more often than Gen Xers or Baby Boomers. If retention matters to your business, recognition should matter to you. Your goal should be to slow down their pattern of switching jobs, show them a road to growth, and ensure that road is littered with countless opportunities for small successes. Like it or not, this is your team and what matters is getting the most and best out of them, participation trophies and all!

Now that we’ve acknowledged that recognition is essential, you’re likely wondering, where do I start? As the title suggests, we’re going to start with a star. This simple system allows your entire staff to participate quickly and inexpensively in peer-to-peer and supervisor-to-staff recognition.

Start with printing out a clipart-created star form. Explain the program to your staff and encourage them to give out as many stars as they’d like. They can give them to helpful teammates, overachievers, cheerleaders, or consistent performers. What matters is they give them away.

Place the star forms in an accessible area, like your breakroom, and keep the stack stocked. Ask your managers to champion the process by getting some stars out early. Encourage your team to display their stars or you can put them on a visible bulletin board. Hold a monthly meeting where stars are shared with the entire group or post announcements. This allows team members to see what their teammates are achieving.

Give prizes! For every five stars in a month, for example, a team member could get one ticket for a prize drawing. Prizes could include gift cards, early-leave days, and longer lunches.

It’s that simple. A stack of copied stars, some pixie dust from manager-driven participation to get things moving forward organically, and closure with additional rewards at the end of each month. You’re off to the races with your very own recognition program!