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We are here to remind you: Recognize employees for small wins regularly. Doing so results in a confident, productive workplace.

Praise for specific acts of excellence builds employee self-confidence and increases engagement.

Employee recognition is one of the most important responsibilities of leaders. It’s smart business, directly affecting productivity, retention and overall culture.

According to Quantum Workplace,

Organizations with formal recognition programs have 31% less voluntary turnover than organizations that don’t have any program at all. And they’re 12x more likely to have strong business outcomes.

The best employee recognition fulfills a “core emotional need” in humans: to feel important. Your employees want to work for leaders who value them. Unfortunately, too many well-meaning employee recognition programs don’t make this emotional connection with employees.

Ensure that your workplace leaders recognize employees effectively. Invest time and structured training so managers understand recognition expectations, and teach them how to effectively recognize people. We have put together some expert tips on what to do and what NOT to do when recognizing employees.

5 Common Employee Recognition Mistakes

Employee recognition should be a critical part of a company’s annual plan and budget. However, too much time and money are wasted on ineffective efforts.

Here are five common mistakes when recognizing employees — and how to correct them:

1. Recognition isn’t a habit

Is recognition an “event” in your workplace? Celebrations are a part of a lively workplace culture, but only effective when they’re complemented by regular and on-the-spot recognition. Don’t rely on events alone to communicate your gratitude to employees. Recognition should be a daily habit.

2. Money is the main motivator

Everybody loves a little extra cash, but it isn’t the only or even the top employee motivator — in today’s workplace more than ever! What employees really respond to is clearly communicated appreciation. Monetary recognition without true thanks can be misinterpreted. There are a wide variety of ways to share praise and recognition that help employees shine. 

3. Leaving recognition to HR

Employees need to hear recognition from leaders first. Your HR team may be responsible for coordinating engagement and recognition efforts, but leaders need to be regularly involved. Make sure team leaders are on-board, fully supportive and ready to communicate recognition on the job. Tell them, “Don’t wait for someone else to recognize your incredible team! Do it every day!”

4. Recognition only happens at the holidays

The annual office holiday party can be an important cultural tradition in your organization. Celebrating together at the holidays is a meaningful way to share appreciation and have fun. But those good feelings can seem short-lived and are desired year-round. There is no “off season” for recognition. Plan ways to celebrate and show appreciation all year long.

5. Recognition isn’t explained

If employees don’t know why they’re being recognized, they won’t know which good behaviors to replicate on the job in the future. A blanket, “good job!” can even demotivate because it comes across insincere and uncaring. Be specific with what is being done well!

Recognize Employees’ Results, Make an Emotional Connection

How do employees want to be recognized? It varies! Solution? ASK!

Recognize employees with a note of thanks that is specific and heartfelt

According to additional research by Quantum Workplace, “every employee is different, each person will respond to and prefer different types of recognition. We recommend managers just come out and ask each employee, ‘How do you like to be recognized?’ The answer to this question uncovers:

  • Whether the employee prefers public or private recognition.
  • What types of work the employee wants to be recognized more. Do they get greater satisfaction from finding ways to be more efficient or expertly handling a difficult customer?
  • When the employee wants to be recognized. Should you wait until the end of a major project or praise minor wins along the way to a greater goal?
  • Whether the employee prefers individual or team accolades. Some love to be trumpeted as the team MVP, while others would rather highlight team efforts.”

Recognition Alone will not Impact Employee Engagement

“To drive engagement, recognition must be genuine and thoughtful. Yet only 56.4% of employees feel they receive thoughtful recognition from their manager. Therefore, it’s critical that managers take the time to be authentic with their recognition and appreciation efforts. The more you get to know your employees, the better you’ll understand how to recognize them.”

Think you can’t find the time for recognition? Paradigm shift: don’t make it seem like a task, but work it into the culture of your organization!

Rethinking Employee Engagement and Appreciation

We all need inspiration to make employee appreciation a daily habit. gThankYou’s annual day-to-day Employee Celebration Calendar gives you the tools and inspiration to build a culture of appreciation every day of the year. Download yours today, absolutely free.

“In life, one has a choice to take one of two paths: to wait for some special day — or to celebrate each special day.” – Rasheed Ogunlaru, coach and author

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Gift Certificates

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Choose the gThankYou Certificates you want and order them online or by telephone.

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Personalize your gThankYou Certificates with Recipient and Giver names (optional) and give them to employees.

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