As children, we learn that a compliment, trophy or an award for our accomplishments makes us feel good and motivates us to work harder. Recognition for hard work is a proven motivator from the time we are small children and continues throughout our life. So, it's no surprise to hear about the importance of recognition in the workplace.
During these lean economic times, many companies have been forced to ask their employees to work harder, increase productivity and take on more responsibilities... and OH YEAH...please do all of this with no additional compensation. The need to be recognized in the workplace is greater than ever and is a win-win situation. Workplace recognition is all about showing appreciation to employees for their contributions to the company. Recognition promotes employee engagement, builds self-worth, encourages motivation and garners job satisfaction, all factors closely tied to retaining talent. When employees feel acknowledged and that their company has their best interest at heart; they will not want to leave that behind.
Recognizing and praising employees is not enough. It must be done consistently, sincerely and on a company-wide basis. Don't confuse recognition with compensation. When someone is paid for a job well done, it becomes part of their salary expectations. Recognition can be as simple as a thank you or as elaborate as a trip. Recognition is a luxury separate from compensation; it shows respect and commends accomplishment.
Creating a recognition program that is fun and makes a big deal of successes will generate excitement among employees. A good recognition program will have clear and realistic goals and will be well communicated. It must be carefully planned, consistent, and meaningful to employees. Knowing your employees, their interest and motivators is key. Something as simple as a hand-written thank you note or a thoughtful email can be very powerful. Other forms of recognition include job flexibility, opportunities for training and development or including the employee in decision making.
Recognition is a powerful resource and can not be overused. It's a simple process; yet it doesn't have to involve spending a lot of money — it's the recognition that is important. It leads to greater job satisfaction which in turn, builds commitment to both the manager and the employer. For increased job satisfaction and retention...bring on the recognition.