HR Tip of the Week

Posted on  |  Performance management

Recognition: A Low-Cost Perk That Packs a Big Punch

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Recognition is a simple, low-cost way for employers to motivate employees by showing appreciation for a job well done. The positive feedback demonstrates that you value the employee's contributions and that you encourage their continued efforts. Recognition may also motivate co-workers to emulate the rewarded behavior.

Here are seven tips for recognizing your workforce:

#1: Make recognition a core part of workplace culture.

Consider making employee recognition part of your employer brand, developing a formal recognition program, and ensuring that your leaders are providing positive feedback consistently.

#2: Identify the behaviors you want to promote.

Develop a list of key behaviors you want to recognize and encourage. While recognizing top performance is important, think about other behaviors you want to reinforce. For instance, you can recognize employees who submit suggestions for improving workplace safety. You can tailor your list for different roles depending on the job duties.

#3: Develop a well-rounded program.

Effective recognition can come from the employer, the manager, fellow employees, and customers and can be given publicly or privately. Public recognition may involve presenting a certificate of achievement during a companywide meeting, whereas private recognition may involve a handwritten letter thanking an employee for their contributions. When developing and implementing your program, understand what type of recognition motivates each employee so you can provide recognition accordingly.

#4: Train managers.

Provide managers with training on how to give effective recognition, the criteria they should use for deciding when to provide recognition, and how frequently they should be giving praise. Consider role playing to help ensure that they are providing positive feedback that is both emphatic and sincere.

#5: Have a communication plan.

Before you launch your recognition program, create a plan for communicating it to your employees. Be clear about what the program is, why you are implementing it, the criteria for earning recognition, and where employees can go with any questions.

#6: Be specific.

Regardless of whether recognition is given publicly or privately, be specific about why the employee is being recognized. For instance, instead of just saying something to the effect of "good job on that project," be specific about what you appreciated about their effort. For instance, "You took ownership of the project from the beginning, stayed late to make sure you finished it on time, and corrected a problem that saved the company time and money. Thank you for your dedication."

#7: Be consistent.

Make sure you are applying the criteria for earning recognition consistently in that every employee who receives recognition should have earned it and every employee that meets the criteria for recognition should be acknowledged.


Effective employee recognition can motivate employees by demonstrating that you notice and value their contributions. Make sure your employees are being recognized in a way that motivates them best.

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