The Importance of Employee Recognition

Creative Commons: Takver

In today’s labour market, it’s not only difficult to find exceptional employees, but more importantly, to retain them. So, when you find a great employee, it’s important to treat them well and keep them happy so they do not search for greener pastures. One of the most effective ways to keep your staff content is by providing proper employee recognition. In fact, a recent Gallup study shows that “two-thirds of employees, who said they hadn’t received any recognition in the last seven days, were twice as likely to say they would leave the company as the other workers when asked.” While shocking, this statistic emphasizes the importance of a properly executed recognition strategy.

As part of your recognition plan, be sure to not only thank staff for the small day-to-day contributions, but also to recognize and reward outstanding behaviour on a larger scale. To learn the top 4 ways you can effectively recognize your employees to help retain them, continue reading.

Provide Timely Feedback

It’s crucial to show your appreciation to staff for specific accomplishments as soon as possible. If you wait too long to recognize someone, they may feel you did not truly appreciate the efforts they have put forth. It’s also beneficial for management to provide recognition immediately after a staff achievement as this helps to positively reinforce the behaviours that led to this achievement. Positive reinforcement inspires staff to repeat their actions as they seek to obtain further recognition.

Get Specific with Feedback

A second key tip is to get as specific as possible with your recognition. Making a general declaration to an employee such as “you are doing a great job” can come across merely as lip service. If you take the time to express to your staff the specific qualities you admire and detail the accomplishments they have made, staff will see that you are paying attention. For example, “I really appreciate the extra efforts you put forth yesterday in helping out with the angry client. I admire your patience and perseverance, and the fact that you did not give up until the client was happy.” Letting people know that you appreciate their unique contributions to your organization will help them to feel that they are much more than just a number.

Give Rewards, but Don’t Overdo it

One mistake some managers make is overdoing it when giving out rewards for recognizing achievements. Studies have shown that employees are more receptive to infrequent or surprise rewards, as opposed to expecting a reward on a regular basis. As an example, if you take your production staff out for lunch every time they meet their weekly targets, and it ends up being every week, eventually the reward no longer becomes enticing or motivating. In this case, either raise the targets if staff are easily reaching them, or give the reward at a less frequent interval such as one month.

Understand Individual Motivators

People are different, and the things that motivate them and the rewards they value differ as well. Having a one-size fits all approach to reward delivery will not work. Get to know your staff by asking them what they value from an employer recognition standpoint. Some people are motivated purely by money, some prefer special rewards such as gifts or meals, while others crave public recognition. Be sure to give something of value to your staff.

In summary, when recognizing your staff make sure to be specific and give praise to staff immediately after they have performed well. It’s also nice to give tangible rewards, but make sure to only do so for achievements that go above and beyond the normal job expectations. Following these four tips when executing your employee appreciation strategy will improve the chances of retaining valuable staff for years to come.