Recognizing Employees: What’s Most Effective?

When it comes to recognizing employees for their performance, there are many methods of “proven,” effective recognition. But as you may already know, not all of these are good for every employee, nor is one of them the “magic button” to be used for any one group. How can you gauge which form of recognition might be the most effective? How do you navigate the different personalities, job types, and forms of recognition to motive your employees and help them progress?

  1. Be aware of the nature of your employee’s position. Does your employee’s job require that they work by themselves or is their position driven by the work given to their team? Based on this basic information, you may have some guidance on what kind of atmosphere is more appropriate in which to recognize the employee. If they largely work by themselves, recognizing them in front of a group of people, while a kind gesture, may not have the same motivating effects as calling them into a one-on-one meeting and congratulating them on a job well done. Conversely, for an employee who mostly works with teams, recognizing them in front of their peers might have the double effect of affirming the individual’s performance and motivating the team in their continuing work.
  2. Meet your employees on a personal level. Are you aware of this employee’s personality? How well do you know them on the level of what motivates them best? Are they self-motivated or do they thrive when they’ve received accolades and positive feedback? In a one-on-one session, be direct in asking what forms of recognition would be most motivating to them and take note. As a manager, while you can’t accommodate every employee’s personal needs, you can show your effort and support by genuinely attempting to give feedback in a format that will push employees to be more productive.
  3. Consider the context of the recognition. During performance review time, employees expect to receive a certain amount of feedback from their managers or supervisors. Within this context, the feedback is a formulated step in the process of reviews and can at times come across as insincere and cookie-cutter. Impress your employees by stepping off the beaten path and recognizing them for their performance at unlikely times during the year. Send a short thank you note or a quick e-mail congratulating or thanking them. Perhaps escalate a project they have worked on tirelessly to someone higher up within the company to help that employee and their work gain visibility and understanding within the company.

While these seem like small steps, unexpected and sincere recognition could make the difference in morale on your team and in the office. As employees take notice of your extra efforts, you’ll begin to foster a working atmosphere where employees feel motivated and show their genuine appreciation through their work and productivity.

Do you put some thought into the way you recognize your employees for a job well done? We want to hear about it in the comments below.

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by Victor1558