Recognizing employees isn’t only for the employee. Yes, employees seek recognition. They want to be appreciated, but recognizing employees helps your organization as well.

But What Does Recognizing Employees Do for me?

Last week I was talking with one of my favorite managers. He shared his belief that you can’t expect most people to do their job without direction. He said, “If that was the case we wouldn’t need managers. But there comes a point where I’m not going to recognize employees for just doing their job.”

I asked for an example, and he shared getting to work on time. For example, if an employee has been chronically tardy to the point of impending termination and then he or she begins coming to work on time. He asked, “Why would I recognize them for something they’re supposed to do? Isn’t that just being a responsible adult on their part?”

Do it for You

One of the best ways to encourage repetition of positive behaviors is to recognize those behaviors. For example, what if the chronically tardy employee was in all other respects a good worker? Recognizing the positive change in behavior of getting to work on time increases the likelihood that the behavior will continue. As long as a manager looks at recognizing positive behavior as coddling employees and not as a tool to modify behavior, they’re missing the point.

Why Recognize What They Should Be Doing?

Yes, recognition is appreciated by most employees, and the positive effects of recognition on employees are real and measurable, but the most important reason for recognition is to reinforce positive behavior, and that’s called leadership. Leaders use the tools they have available to improve individual performance, team production, and the organization’s bottom line. And recognition is one of the most valuable tools in the leaders tool belt. If recognizing the positive behavioral change of arriving to work on time helps the employee continue this behavior why wouldn’t a manager use this tool?

Consider this study reported by Harvard Medical School as conducted by researchers from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

“Researchers randomly divided university fund-raisers into two groups. One group made phone calls to solicit alumni donations in the same way they always had. The second group—assigned to work on a different day—received a pep talk from the director of annual giving, who told the fund-raisers she was grateful for their efforts. During the following week, the university employees who heard her message of gratitude made 50% more fund-raising calls than those who did not.”

“According to OC Tanner research:

  • 79 percent of employees who quit their jobs claim that a lack of appreciation was a major reason for leaving
  • 65 percent of Americans claimed they weren’t even recognized one time last year
  • 82 percent of employees feel their supervisor doesn’t recognize them for what they do
  • 60 percent say they are more motivated by recognition than money”

The Psychological Effects of Workplace Appreciation and Gratitude

What’s in Your Tool belt?

Wouldn’t it better to use every tool in your leadership tool belt to improve your company? Use your recognition tool to encourage behaviors that will make your job easier and your business better. Whether it’s recognizing someone for being on time or completing a task without mistakes, do it for the employee and for your organization. You do want your team to repeat positive behaviors, don’t you?  Believe me; it will make your life easier.

How Can I Help You?

I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me. 

So, does your business have a management training plan? Because, if not, many organizations, large and small, use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook, a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. Check it out.

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