Is It Time to Redefine Your Recognition Program?

by | 2 minute read

We all know that mon­ey alone won't moti­vate employ­ees. Some of your top achiev­ers may be high­ly engaged because they want to con­tribute to the organization’s mis­sion. And then, there are employ­ees who real­ly want recog­ni­tion.

The Problem with Traditional Recognition

Your team mem­bers might be excit­ed about win­ning the cov­et­ed “employ­ee of the year” award. Or they might enjoy com­pet­ing for a prize that gets them out of kitchen duty for a month. The prob­lem with this style of recog­ni­tion is that only a few employ­ees ben­e­fit. Before you embark on a com­pli­cat­ed pro­gram that rec­og­nizes employ­ees for being with the com­pa­ny for ten years, con­sid­er the advice of Vic­tor Lip­man.

Many of your team mem­bers toil at their dai­ly tasks with lit­tle acknowl­edge­ment. Tucked away in their offices or cubi­cles, they turn out doc­u­ments and spread­sheets. Or, they take con­stant abuse on the cus­tomer ser­vice lines. As far as Lip­man is con­cerned, employ­ee recog­ni­tion should start and end at this lev­el.

Why Managers Fail at Recognition

If you’re over­worked as a man­ag­er, and many of us are, you only com­mu­ni­cate with an employ­ee when something’s wrong. We see our pri­ma­ry role as mak­ing sure that we steer our depart­ment toward suc­cess­ful­ly achiev­ing our goals. While that is a key goal, we must rely on our team mem­bers to help us. It’s often been said that a man­ag­er should make four pos­i­tive state­ments for each cor­rec­tive sug­ges­tion we make.

Framework for a New Recognition Program

On a dai­ly basis, are you tak­ing a few min­utes to think about what has gone right in your depart­ment? Has one of your employ­ees been com­plet­ing every task on their list for the past cou­ple of weeks? Stop by their office and let them know you’ve noticed. The next time you’re in the break room and run into one of your team mem­bers, steer the con­ver­sa­tion to what they’ve been work­ing on. Com­pli­ment them on a par­tic­u­lar aspect of their work.

Tak­ing this ini­tia­tive boosts everyone’s sense of belong­ing and engage­ment. And the long-term out­come will be far more pos­i­tive than an expen­sive and hard-to-manage for­mal recog­ni­tion pro­gram.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice Pres­i­dent of Research for Sales­Fu­el. She holds a Mas­ters in Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ver­mont and over­sees a staff of researchers, writ­ers and con­tent providers for Sales­Fu­el. Pre­vi­ous­ly, she was co-owner of sev­er­al small busi­ness­es in the health care ser­vices sec­tor.