Employee Recognition – The Power of Recognition

The Power Of Recognition
A company that creates an environment that motivates people, and where positive behavior is rewarded, will attract…

… the best talent, maintain strong morale, retain key employees and ultimately stay ahead of the competition.

This same environment, rich in motivation and recognition, will also achieve positive results on the ball field, in the classroom and even around the dinner table. The key to this basic premise is RECOGNITION – Making Someone Proud. If you reward good behavior, it will be repeated. This principle has been demonstrated over and over again, in both laboratory settings and in the real world. What is the reward? RECOGNITION – Making Someone Proud. Studies have shown that if you recognize and appreciate your co-workers, good things will happen. Stress, absenteeism, turnover will decrease, while morale, productivity, competitiveness will increase. Likewise, in the classroom, positively reinforcing behavior through recognition, will lead to increased attentiveness, improved test scores and most importantly, a genuine interest in learning.

Despite popular belief, money isn’t the best way to recognize superior performance. In fact, research shows us that the number one reason people leave jobs is “limited recognition and praise.” Issues such as compensation were all deemed less important than recognition. Clearly, people value respect, appreciation and recognition just as much as — and often more than — monetary rewards. The money will be spent and long forgotten, while an award will live on as a reminder of the achievement for years to come.
An added benefit of recognition is that it affects more than just the recipient. When a coach recognizes a player for improving their play, not only does the player feel proud about the recognition but the coach also celebrates in the joy of accomplishment and feeling of pride. When a manager recognizes a co-worker, the co-worker is proud, but so is the manager to have that person on their team. Recognition as it is given or received is an act of empowerment. Others on the team or in the room are also inspired, and they strive to be recognized and to recognize others.

How do you recognize your team members, your co-workers, your students or family members? Start small. Recognize individual achievement whenever you can. Or, you may choose to implement a more formal recognition program. The program may be tailored to suit any goal, from increasing points scored to improving corporate sales to bringing up the class grade point average. It’s a fairly simple process, and it doesn’t have to involve spending a lot of money — remember, it’s the recognition itself that’s so important.
That’s the foundation for successful motivation. By Making Someone Proud, you can appreciate the work people perform, respect them for it and recognize their accomplishments.

Appreciation and recognition are powerful motivators leading to an increase in performance, productivity, morale, employee retention and overall satisfaction. Appreciation and Recognition are two of the top principles people value in their jobs.

Creating Your Own Recognition Program
A recognition program is the best way for any company to provide employees with these good feelings. How you design and implement the program will determine its success. It must be carefully planned, consistent, and meaningful to both employees and managers. Remember, your program’s ultimate goal is to motivate those involved to reach higher levels of achievement, as well as provide for lots of recognition among peers.

Step 1: Goals
First, determine the goals of your program. Ask yourself what it is you wish to accomplish. It may be sales, cost reduction, customer satisfaction, or promoting a new product. Ask for input from those around you. Make your goal simple and specific.

Step 2: Target
As you discuss your objectives, it should become clear exactly whom the program should target (warehouse personnel, salespeople, etc.); you may need overlapping programs for the different groups. Make sure your objectives are realistic and attainable. Colleagues must feel they can reach the targets you put before them, and their results will be evaluated fairly.

Step 3: Recognition & Awards
Now that you have carefully selected your goals for the recognition program, and you understand who will be participating, determine how and what kind of awards you will hand out. Will you give an award to just the top person, or will there be second and third place? You may want to consider “interim awards” to maintain inspiration for programs that run for long periods: every 100 days without an accident on the way to 1 year for example.
When selecting an award, keep in mind the power of personalization. Whether it’s a crystal bowl, a marble obelisk, a plaque, certificate or a small medal, it’s important to have the person’s name inscribed. It makes the award “feel official,” the emotion to it last longer; it’s permanent recognition. Personalization gives the recipient an opportunity to show it off, whether it’s displayed on a desk, mantel or hung on the wall. Furthermore, every time the individual sees the award, with the company logo, their name and the recognition of achievement etched into the award, it will reinforce the relationship and commitment to the organization, themselves and their peers.

Step 4: Communicate
Once the parameters of the recognition program is mapped out, conduct a meeting with all involved to make sure they understand the program completely. Answer questions, and don’t be afraid to make modifications in the plan upon hearing from those involved. This will further the feeling that everybody is “in” on the plan. When the program has been formalized, post it in a conspicuous place.

Step 5: Promotion
Once the plan in place, promote it. Send reminders to participants, being sure to rally them to the cause, not threaten them with extinction if the goals are not met. At the end of the program, but before the awards are distributed, send congratulatory notes to all participants, celebrating their success. Make sure the letters are personal, with messages from top management recognizing their effort and contributions to the company.

Step 6: Distribution of Awards
When the awards are finally distributed, do it as lavishly as your possible. Treat your ceremony like a night at the “Oscars.” Whether you host a banquet in a rented hall or bring in donuts and coffee, the fanfare involved will make the awards more meaningful. This positive feeling will extend from the actual award recipients to their peers and even to upper management.

Step 7: Evaluate
Evaluate the program’s results. Conduct a survey or hold meetings with all involved, focusing on the program itself, the goals, even the awards and “ceremony.” Inquire if there were any snags along the way, and how they can be ironed out. Ask if the program reached the ultimate goals, met all expectations, and if there were any unexpected benefits. Sit down and analyze the feedback. And don’t forget, get the next recognition program rolling. You can never have too many happy co-workers!

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