How to Effectively Recognize Good Employee Performance

Any leader these days will tell you employee recognition is essential, but essential and effective are two different things...

March 11, 2021
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Any leader these days will tell you employee recognition is essential, but essential and effective are two different things. What can you do to ensure that your employee recognition is effective – the kind that creates engaged employees and drives business metrics up and to the right?

Effective employee recognition is consistent.

Did you know that 68% of employees who receive accurate and consistent feedback report feeling fulfilled in their jobs? Consistency is one of the most critical aspects of an effective employee recognition program. So, how much recognition is enough? According to one study by Gallup, you should celebrate teammates at least once per week.

Keep in mind that consistent recognition doesn't have to be over-the-top or expensive. More importantly, it merely needs to be timely and specific. Write a thank you message and tell the employee why you are thankful for them. What did they do, and what was the impact? Give them a shoutout on Slack or Microsoft Teams – this can help reinforce the behavior or action for that individual and the others who observe the shoutout.

An effective employee recognition program linked to organizational goals and values.

Before implementing any recognition program, consider your organizational goals and values. They serve as a guiding light for your employees, how they show up each day, and how they make business decisions. Do you want to reward compassion, innovation, teamwork? By tying recognition back to your organizational values, you can reward those who model the behaviors you want to see more frequently.

When expectations for employees (and just people in general) are known and how they can best fit an organization, they perform better. By tying praise to your values, you empower both leaders and employees to recognize one another. You help paint a clear picture of how each celebrated person impacts the organization – no matter their job title.

Effective recognition is personalized and specific.

Some employees want to see their names and faces plastered all over your employee newsletter, while others want to hear thank you and head right back to their office. Consider developing an employee recognition survey for your new employees to learn more about how they like to be recognized.

When it comes to big rewards, before you spend, survey the company to align available rewards with expected or valued rewards. You may find that intrinsic rewards such as professional development opportunities or lunch with the CEO are more meaningful than extrinsic monetary awards or other tangible items. Armed with an understanding of your employees wants and needs, you can build an effective recognition program unique to your organizational needs.

Effective recognition is fitting for the achievement.

There are various recognition types – from formal recognition that requires a nomination process to the more frequent day-to-day recognition. There's a place for each type; knowing when to use which type is essential and can make all the difference in how it's received.

For example, you don't want to reward someone with $1,000 for merely displaying good teamwork. You may, however, want to award someone a $1,000 or a large prize if the team member went above and beyond to design and implement a new project that increased sales and customer engagement.

How will you determine what actions and outcomes are deserving of larger or more formal awards? Thinking through this early on will help you establish a more effective recognition program.

With a little planning and strategy, you can create an employee recognition programs that make your organization more productive, innovative, increase customer happiness, and ultimately increase revenue. Don't underestimate the power of a little recognition. 


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