Finding a Job You Love: The Power of Recognition in the Workplace

Finding a job that you love can be a difficult task. As young professionals, our team grew tired of loathing Mondays, counting...

August 7, 2023
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Finding a job that you love can be a daunting challenge. As young professionals, our team grew tired of loathing Mondays, counting down the days until the weekend, and associating work with negativity. We thought to ourselves, why does “work” have such a negative connotation when you say it out loud?

We began thinking. There has to be a way to boost employees' happiness in the workplace. There has to be something that can be done, even in the slightest, to make employees feel important and appreciated. Right?

We did a little research and stumbled upon the concept of the employee recognition program and formal acknowledgment. We found out that there are three broad factors that affect a professional's level of happiness in the workplace:

  1. Enjoying what you do
  2. Compensation
  3. Feeling appreciated and safe in the workplace

The first two are not within our control. So, our focus shifted to the third.

What does it mean to give recognition?

Define official recognition: At its core, the act of recognizing employees is about valuing and appreciating their efforts and contributions. We found that feeling appreciated in the workplace comes from something called employee recognition. According to the Business Dictionary, employee recognition is communication between management and employees which rewards employees for reaching specific goals or producing high-quality results.

What is the importance of an employee recognition program?

The importance of employee recognition is so vast it can be hard to measure. An employee recognition program is a structured approach to systematically recognizing and rewarding employees for their hard work and achievements. Such programs (especially early recognition)  often correlate with increased employee motivation and employee retention, as staff feel valued and important to the organization.

What are the 4 types of recognition?

  1. Formal recognition: This includes awards ceremonies, official promotions, and certifications.
  2. Informal recognition: Acts like verbal praise or a spontaneous thank-you note.
  3. Social recognition: Public praise in settings such as company meetings or on company social media channels.
  4. Personal recognition: Tailored and individualized, like a personal gift or a one-on-one lunch with the CEO.

What does employee recognition do?

Employee recognition has multifaceted benefits:

  • Boosts Morale: Regularly recognizing employees uplifts their spirits and makes them feel valued.
  • Enhances Productivity: Recognized employees often display better performance and commitment to their tasks.
  • Strengthens Loyalty: Employees who feel acknowledged are more likely to stay with the company long-term.
  • Encourages Positive Behavior: Recognizing desired behaviors reinforces those behaviors, prompting employees to repeat them.
  • Builds a Supportive Work Culture: A culture of equal recognition fosters teamwork, collaboration, and mutual respect among coworkers.

What are the effective ways to recognize employees?

Incorporating different ways to motivate employees in the everyday culture of a company can significantly improve their morale and productivity. Here are some ways:

  • Employee engagement program: Create a structured program where employees are routinely recognized for their achievements and can easily give and receive recognition.
  • Spot bonuses for exceptional work
  • Personalized gifts
  • Team lunches or company trips

Remember, it's not just about grand gestures; sometimes, a simple "thank you" or acknowledgment can reward employees immensely.

What is the difference between employee appreciation and recognition?

Recognition acknowledges specific accomplishments linked to company values or goals. In contrast, appreciation is about valuing an individual, irrespective of accomplishments.

Reflect for a moment on the stark contrast between days when you approach your job with enthusiasm and passion, and those when you're merely going through the motions due to lack of motivation. The difference isn't just palpable; it directly translates to the quality and efficiency of the work you produce. When we foster a culture that actively practices formal acknowledgment, recognizing and valuing each employee's contributions, the results are profound. It ignites a spark of motivation, fueling a desire to consistently give one's best. Beyond that, such recognition isn’t merely a fleeting reward; it's an investment, solidifying bonds of loyalty and trust that are essential for long-term employee retention.

HR professionals and leaders, envision a workplace where the energy is contagious, where the spirit of collaboration and drive isn't confined to just the high-flying days but is consistent, day in and day out. Imagine a place where every team member feels seen, valued, and driven — yes, even on those challenging Mondays. The tools and strategies are at your fingertips; the next move is yours. Commit to transforming your workplace into a hub of enthusiasm, productivity, and mutual respect. It's not just about boosting numbers; it's about enriching lives, enhancing experiences, and building a legacy of excellence.

Browse our Free Employee Recognition Guide

Get the foundational knowledge on creating an employee recognition program that boosts employee engagement and helps them feel valued.

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Employee recognition guide