Survey after survey shows employees consider recognition as one of the top desires in any job. Yet those same surveys show little recognition is received. How much of a leaders success is hindered by their lack of recognition for the work their employees do.
People who feel appreciated are more positive about themselves and their ability to contribute. People with positive self-esteem are potentially your best employees. So do you take the time to let them know, or do you just hope they get the idea.
In my experience, employee recognition is scarce because of several factors. People don’t know how to provide employee recognition effectively, so they have bad experiences when they do. Recognition should be timely, specific and in public as much as possible. While “you did a nice job today” is a positive comment, it lacks the power of, “the report had a significant impact on the committee’s decision. You did an excellent job of highlighting the key points and information we needed to weigh before deciding.
They assume that one size fits all when they provide employee recognition. Saying thank you is nice to a point. Written thank you cards are a step up especially when mailed to the employee’s home address. Certificates of appreciation presented at department meetings are also appreciated by many, and can be motivating to the rest of the team. Awards can be another creative way to give recognition.
Finally, employers think too generically and don’t connect the recognition to a specific action, rather say things like “thank you for your hard work.” While the employee may work hard this is not seen as meaningful and rewarding to most, instead it comes across as shallow.
Use the myriad opportunities for employee recognition that are available to you. While salary, bonuses, and benefits are critical within your employee recognition and reward system – after all, most of us do work for money – think more broadly about your opportunities to provide employee recognition.