The Importance of Recognition
Article written by Incentive Services University
“Thank you.” “Great job.” “Congratulations!” Whether adults or children, we all like to receive validation for our efforts, achievements and success. Employers often spend a great deal of time, money and energy recruiting and hiring new employees, optimizing employee performance, and ensuring the retention of talent. But many organizations forget the basic tenet that employees are more engaged, more productive, and more likely to stay with a company when they feel valued and appreciated for their time and efforts. It all starts with the importance of recognition.
What do we mean by recognition? According to Kim Harrison, “Employee recognition is the timely, informal or formal acknowledgement of a person’s or team’s behavior, effort or business result that supports the organization’s goals and values, and which has clearly been beyond normal expectations” (Why Employee Recognition is So Important). In fact, we all have a fundamental human need to be recognized, noticed and appreciated. But according to John J. Oliver, ” Recognition is one of the most powerful, least used management tools. . . It’s not about favoritism, but about recognizing and rewarding all employees who meet well-defined and stated criteria” (The Rewards of Recognition). Recognition in the workplace may be formal or informal, but – when sincere – it is always appreciated.
Informal recognition of employees can be as simple as a verbal “thank you” for a late night at the office or a well-timed email of congratulations on a successful project. Some companies even have websites that make sending a quick note of recognition as easy as clicking a link. More formal recognition programs might include Service Awards to recognize employees for their years of dedicated service or Spot Awards offering spontaneous gifts, cards or points with a monetary value to recognize employees “in the moment.” Helping your managers to understand the value of recognition, and then harnessing that positive power, can lead to significant benefits for your employees and for your entire organization.
In his article, Employers Learning That ‘B’ Players Hold the Cards, author Del Jones points out that ” . . . failure and success [in an organization] might not lie among the weakest and strongest links, but in the solid middle, . . . the 75% of workers who have been all but ignored.” These are the employees who will stick around long after the “A players” have run because the ” . . . opportunities for riches and promotions dry up. . . . loyal B players, still retain the organizational memory to help their companies survive and . . . move forward.” This makes recognizing your “B players” for their efforts that much more important. Spread the recognition across the whole organization.
Recognition, whether formal or informal, can benefit your entire organization. When leveraged properly, it can create higher levels of engagement and satisfaction for your employees and can be a motivating factor in their day-to-day performance. Higher employee engagement can also lead to a more positive, productive and stable organization. And it all starts with a simple “Thank You.”