By B. Lynn Ware, Ph.D.

One of the top reasons employees give during exit interviews about why they voluntarily leave their companies is that they were not recognized for the contributions they made in their job.

By providing recognition, you are using a powerful communication tool that draws attention to and rewards important outcomes that people create for your organization. When recognition is performed effectively, it essentially reinforces the actions and behaviors you most want to see your people repeat.

When giving recognition, keep these general guideposts in mind:

  • Provide recognition as closely as you can in time to when the behavior was exhibited. By doing so, you will be more likely to get the employee to repeat the desired behavior.
  • Make sure that the form of recognition you are giving is valued by the employee. For example, some employees are embarrassed by public recognition. It’s a best practice to ask an employee when they are hired how they like to be recognized and to follow those preferences.

Here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling:

  • Assign an individual to a special project that interests him/her
  • Recognize effort and progress toward a goal, not just goal completion
  • Have an individual represent you at a staff meeting, or on a task force
  • Provide an opportunity for the individual to give a high visibility presentation
  • Provide public recognition (e.g., all-hands meetings, in a staff meeting, with customers, etc. )
  • Send an e-mail with specific details of accomplishments to the employee’s peers, boss, and/or upper management
  • Provide private recognition (e.g., one-on-one)
  • Invite an individual to attend a trade show or customer site to demo products to which s/he contributed
  • Provide mementos of achievement (an award, certificate, office accessory, etc.)
  • Sponsor a team lunch or gathering to recognize the individual
  • Have your boss or your boss’ boss recognize the individual
  • Create a “Wall of Fame” to recognize accomplishments and efforts, and rotate the recipients
  • Keep a record of performance accomplishments to be used at Performance Review time
  • Include write-ups of achievements in company newsletter
  • Support an individual’s plans for professional growth and development
  • Give time off if the person has worked long hours to achieve a goal
  • Say “thank you”
  • Tell the person how much you appreciate their hard work and going the extra mile for both you and the organization

For more information on the benefits of employee recognition, please contact an ITS Consultant by calling  (650) 965-1806 or email us to schedule a consultation.