“There are two things people want more than sex and money: recognition and praise”

Mary Kay Ash, Founder; Mary Kay, inc.

There a revolution going on in today’s workplaces. Employees want respect, and they want it now. They want to be trusted to do a good job; they want autonomy to decide how best to do it; they want to be asked their opinion and involved with decisions – especially those decisions that affect them and their work, and they want to be supported, even if they make a mistake.

Most important, they want to be appreciated when they do a good job. 

These considerations are more important for today’s employee’s than they were in previous eras – or even five to ten years ago for that matter. Providing workers with recognition and respect can make a world of difference in getting the best efforts out of them, keeping them, and helping you develop a reputation for treating employees in a way that helps attract talent to work for you and your company. 

But what is recognition?

Recognition is a positive consequence provided to an employee for a desired behaviour or result. Recognition can take the form of acknowledgement, approval, or the expression of gratitude. It means appreciating someone for something he or she has done for you, your company, the group you belong to or even your customers and clients. It also can come in the form of asking someone’s opinion, involving them in a decision, or encouraging them in their career.  Recognition can be given while an employee is striving to achieve a certain goal or behaviour, or once he of she has completed it. 

Employee Recognition can be broken down into the three following groups:

  1. FORMAL RECOGNITION; A structured or planned approach to recognition for a desired outcome or performance. This may include Years of Service Awards, Employee of the Month awards, Top sales Person for the Month or Achievers Award. The recognition can be significant and symbolic, given the public forum in which it is typically presented. 
  2. INFORMAL RECOGNITION; A spontaneous gesture of thanks for a desired outcome or performance. Examples here may include; Creating a “pass around” award to acknowledge exceptional customer service; bringing in coffee and doughnuts or even Pizza to celebrate success. Recognition of this type is increasingly more important to today’s employees than formal recognition. I like to think if them as the “warm fluffies” 
  3. DAY-TO-DAY RECOGNITION; Daily feedback about positive employee performance. Examples include; Dropping by to tell someone “good job” on an assignment; a simple thank you in person or in front of a team for a job well done (It all starts with a thank you and sometimes that’s all it takes). This is the ultimate for of recognition – it’s where the rubber meets the road in creating a results-orientated culture of recognition for your Company


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