Taking the time to not only recognize employees, but also do it appropriately and correctly can be a difficult task for many managers. Sometimes, there are so many meetings and other projects on their “to do” list that it easily slips to the back-burner in terms of priority. However, managers and organizational leaders need to understand that having employees feel genuinely appreciated is an extremely important element in running a successful company.
Here are some key components for what should be included when recognizing staff members:
- Timeliness: Acknowledge your employees as soon as possible, so that the recognition reinforces behavior you want to encourage. It should be fairly timely and not occur several days or weeks afterward. The strength and impact of employee recognition decreases with increased time between the behavior and the message.
- Relevant/sincere: The recognition has to be meaningful to the employee and motivate him/her to continue performing at a high standard. They also have to know that whoever is providing the recognition is truly sincere in his/her intent. Managers should be aware of not only what they say, but also how they say it – including body language and facial expressions. If employees don’t view the acknowledgement as sincere, it loses its purpose.
- Consistency: All employees must be eligible for recognition. Don’t design a process where you “select” certain people to receive recognition. This may be viewed as favoritism and can have the opposite desired effect. The recognition should also be done on a regular basis. Zig Zigler had a famous quote that highlighted this principle: “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”
Recognizing and appreciating staff members for their efforts are vital for a number of reasons. A recent study by the Aberdeen Group showed that 95% of organizations believed that recognizing workers improved employee engagement dramatically; they were then able to link organizational profitability to employee engagement. Some other key benefits include the following:
- Productivity: Appreciation helps boost morale, which in turn increases productivity and efficiency. This may also motivate employees to continue this positive trend and produce better quality and more work.
- Loyalty: Employee recognition makes staff members much more committed to the company. When there is a feeling that management really values their work, a strong bond is created between employees, leadership and the organization as a whole. This goes a long way in retaining quality personnel.
- Morale: When morale is high within the team, there is typically better attendance, fewer accidents, and an increased feeling of unification. Additionally, when employees feel good about the work they do, they share feelings of satisfaction not only with customers and providers, but also with family and friends. This improves the overall reputation of the company within the specific business field and also the general community.
Overall, making sure that management recognizes employees in a meaningful way and on a regular basis contributes to a number of important benefits that positively affect the organization. As Dr. Bob Nelson, an expert and author in the area of employee recognition said, “People may take a job for more money, but they often leave it for more recognition.”
What are your thoughts? Do you have other suggestions or personal stories? Please feel free to ask questions or share your experiences below.
Jeremy joined Empathia (then NEAS) in 2007 as Manager, Client Care Services, then became an Account Manager/Sales Consultant in 2012. He is also a certified wellness and tobacco cessation coach. Jeremy has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Organizational Management. Prior to joining Empathia, he spent 14 years in the EAP industry in a variety of roles with another behavioral healthcare organization. Jeremy enjoys reading, photography, music, and spending time with his wife and daughters.