What Every Boss Ought To Know About Employee Recognition

If you’re an employer, you might think employee recognition is not necessary. After all, your employees are being compensated for their time and work, so why should you go the extra mile to recognize them?

Human motivation isn’t so cut and dry. Most people have the innate drive to feel like they matter, that what they do has meaning and they’re contributing to what they belong to, whether it is family, church, organization, or society at large.

For your employees, recognizing them is the best way to show them they do indeed matter. Yet it’s not being done enough. Otherwise, “lack of recognition” wouldn’t be cited so often as a reason for employees jumping ship.

Why Employee Recognition is So Scarce

Time is a big factor. While some would say recognizing employees doesn’t take much time, that’s only the case if the recognition is verbal. After a while though, no one likes “lip service” or empty words. True recognition often is backed up by tangible rewards. So creating a thoughtful recognition program takes time.

Many employers roll out their employee recognition program with good intentions that quickly go sour. Wrong strategies can make it seem like the employers are playing favorites, leading to jealous and bitter employees who were overlooked. That’s why it’s important to have a clear benchmark, like recognizing perfect attendance.

Effective Employee Recognition Ideas

Dr. Bob Nelson is an industry expert when it comes to recognizing employees, having authored 1001 Ways to Reward Employees. He lists the elements of effective employee appreciation in his trademarked ASAP-Cubed guideline:

As Soon – If you have a large company with many employees, it’s hard to keep track of everyone’s work anniversaries, even if the system is automated. But your employees will appreciate it if you gave them their anniversary gift on the actual date (or as close to it as possible), rather than a few months later.

The same goes for accomplishments. Recognizing accomplishments as soon as they occur will reinforce similar performance.

As Sincere – Sincerely can’t be faked. When you genuinely revel in your employees’ success, it shows.

As Specific – Recognition works better when you list the actual details, rather than a generic “good work.” Plus, specific details help employees know what benchmarks earn recognition so they can duplicate them later.

As Personal – Public recognition is important, but in addition, employees need to be appreciated in person. In the age of electronic communication, face-to-face compliment is rare, therefore, more special.

As Positive – Is there such thing as a negative praise? You’d be surprised at people’s tendency to mix a positive with a negative, e.g. “You did well, but…”

As Proactive – Being proactive is looking for opportunities to praise your employees as often as possible; essentially, it’s “catching people doing things right.”

When it comes to time for giving out more tangible rewards, custom awards help show your employees how you value their efforts. FineAwards.com crafts custom acrylic, glass, and crystal awards that are made specifically to celebrate your employees’ achievement.