Over the years, I have seen countless employee recognition programs – some work, others do not.
You have probably encountered the “Employee of the Month” program, which has to be the number one program in the US and possibly the world. This program is executed in many different fashions and has been changed, re-engineered, vamped up, etc. over the years.
Originally this program was simple – the boss picked the best employee for the previous month, took their picture and put it on the wall. This worked for many years and then suddenly it was deemed to be unfair or biased. That is when all the modifications began.
When I started working, I always gave 110% every day – I wanted my picture on the wall. However, this approach to recognition only motivates some employees, not all of them.
I need to make it very clear that I am not bashing this specific program or any companies out there that are built around this type of recognition. What I am saying is that no one program is sufficient to motivate all your employees – there are too many different personal value systems out there.
If you choose to start an employee recognition program (or modify one in place now) make sure it does not create more issues than it solves.
I have always enjoyed listening to employees, ones that work with me and ones that work for other companies – they have so much knowledge about their jobs and employers. When I worked in hotels I used to eat with the staff at least 4 times a week – it was fun, informative and helped me understand their roles and challenges.
Recognition is an art, one that can be learned and mastered, but it will take some effort on your part.
If you don’t see yourself as a “recognition kind of person” then start out slowly and build up to being that kind of person – you will benefit with every baby step you take.
If you want to have more engaged employees, create your own personal recognition program and plan to recognize worthy members of your team on a daily basis.
Recognition does not have to be an award, a gift or a monetary bonus. Recognition can be as simple as a sincere Thank You!
Recognition can be as simple as saying “Good Job” or “Way to Go”… providing that you mean it.
I have had bosses who never uttered the words above and I have had leaders who let me know I was appreciated and recognized. Notice how I said one was a boss and the other was a leader.
I did everything my boss told me to do because it was my job but I did everything my leader told me to do with all my heart and soul.
As long as you are sincere, recognition works best when it is done publicly. Give the recognition in front of others and pretty soon you’ll see all of them stepping up and performing better than they ever have before.