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Mission: Employee Recognition Programs

Recognize good work, reward results
The concept is simple... ask any successful parent or school teacher. Rewarding a good behavior reinforces it, and makes it more likely to be repeated. Adults aren’t a whole lot different. When you reward results or a good attempt , you let employees know what’s really important to the company. Your actions speak louder than the words written in the company handbook or mission statement. By using employee recognition programs to reward results and recognize employees, you clarify what behaviors and outcomes you value most. (It boils down to telling people what you really want.)

For example, if customer service tops your list, tell employees what it looks like: “Customer service means resolving the customer’s issues on the spot and with a smile. Go the extra mile! Exert a positive attitude and cheerful disposition!” When you see employees practice what you’ve preached, recognize them. Use your employee recognition programs to reward results. You’ll see it become a habit.

When promotions, raises, employee recognition and rewards consistently go to your movers and shakers – the people generating new ideas, innovative methods, proactive solutions and extra effort — everyone gets the message: you sincerely value excellence and ongoing improvement. In other words, it makes sense to walk your talk. Reward your shining stars with a comprehensive employee recognition programs.

Build individual attitudes, boost group morale
Among other benefits, employee recognition programs improve attitudes and morale. An attitude is owned by a single person; morale is the collection of a group of attitudes. By improving individual attitudes, the overall morale improves. Managers need to realize that both are by-products of recognizing employee’s accomplishments and tuning into their individual needs.

Touching People’s Lives
Employee recognition programs done right take sincerity — a personal touch. To be memorable and meaningful, you have to touch people’s lives. A heartfelt compliment, a sincere thank you, verbal praise at a meeting, a handwritten note, a certificate of appreciation or a symbolic gesture say more than any amount of flamboyant glitz. Whatever your style, show your appreciation on a consistent basis — whenever people do the job right.

Have you ever heard management say something like, “I don’t have to say thank you. That’s her job,” or, “He can like it or lump it”? Such a defensive posture is really a “mini-temper tantrum” and rarely creates a positive response. While deadline pressures seem to leave little time for employee recognition programs, the kind word or thoughtful deed may give that employee the extra ‘oomph’ he or she needed to complete the job on time.

While job descriptions make a good starting point, people regard the daily grind as their real job description. When someone goes above and beyond — does something you want to see more of — it’s only rational thinking to recognize and reward the occasion. By reinforcing such an accomplishment with your employee recognition programs, you lock-in improvement. “Above and beyond” becomes a matter of course.

Small starts
You don’t have to redesign this year’s budget to start employee recognition programs. Start with small courtesies. We all like to be appreciated.

  • A compliment
  • An ice cream cone
  • A sticker
  • A handwritten thank you
  • A certificate of appreciation
  • A helping hand
  • A personal note
  • A day off
  • A smile
  • Recognition at a meeting
  • A pat on the back
  • An article in the company newsletter


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