Three Tips For Employee Recognition Success

Many customers look to us to help them craft a successful peer recognition program within their team or organization.  Research and experience has bubbled up a few key findings that we always try to share with new customers on our platform.  We hope you find the employee recognition tips below helpful in creating an active and effective culture of recognition within your workplace.

Tip #1 – Don’t Let Cash and Prizes Become a Demotivator

Recognition as motivation

Photo courtesy of walknboston

Customers, employees, executives and industry research have told us time and time again that prizes don’t motivate employees.  There is a growing body of research around monetary rewards in general as workplace motivators – the prevailing thought is that once a worker feels they are being compensated fairly for their work, its time to start focusing on other factors of motivators.  Recognition in the workplace from peers or managers can have a huge value to an individual, both emotionally and professionally.  Forbes contributor Meghan Biro states “Monetary rewards can skew this notion of value, linking it to cash when it should be linked to appreciation of extra effort and smarts.”


Tip #2 – Let Peers Drive The Bulk of Recognition

peer recognition

Photo Courtesy of Mr. Boombust

At MeritShare, we believe the value of recognition is the act and expression itself as well as the story that accompanies that recognition.  Recognition from a peer is often considered more treasured by the individual than recognition from a manager or executive as it isn’t viewed as an obligation.  Josh Bersin, principal at Bersin by Deloitte finds “Top-down recognition is often viewed as political and it rarely reaches the “quiet but critical high-performers” in the company…Peers know what you’re doing on a day to day basis, so when they “thank you” for your efforts the impact is much more meaningful.”  The additional upside is that peer-driven recognition can be more frequent.  A recent study on the U.S. workers found 32% of employee say they haven’t been recognized in the last three months.  With fewer managers in the workplace today and the growth of cross-functional teams, its challenging for people-managers to know what all of their employees are accomplishing on a consistent basis – peers are best suited to recognize each other and they can do so much more frequently.  One fantastic process we’ve seen is to let peers recognize each other for recognition and allow managers and executives to pick their favorites from the submissions and announce them at a company meeting or in a company newsletter.

Tip #3 – Don’t Forget to Recognize Upward

Thank your boss

Photo courtesy of bfishadow

It is lonely at the top, the American School Superintendent’s Association states “Often the decisions are difficult and unpopular, and the chief executive officer stands alone, sometimes without support and under attack from within and without the organization.”  When you’re thinking about recognition as a means to motivate and make your coworkers feel special, don’t forget to thank upward.  Let your manager know how important they are to your career development and employee satisfaction.  Let your executives know how much you value their leadership and willingness to make tough decisions. Meaningful recognition makes the recipient feel great – at all levels of the organization.

Simple Acts With Significant Results – The Power of Positive Praise

We’ll end our post with a simple message – say “Thank You” to those you work with.  Strive to do it at least once a week.  It takes just seconds.  Leading global researcher GFK’s research found that intent to leave a position within the next 12 months was 76% higher in those who fail to receive recognition from their manager.  Their research, which was focused on the UK goes on to state: ”UK employers are risking losing significant numbers of staff, in many cases because they’re not even taking the time to do something as simple as saying a formal thank you.”

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