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3 Key qualities for Effective, Impactful Employee Recognition

By April 5, 2014 May 6th, 2020 No Comments

Recognise this – The act of recognition alone isn’t enough. You must also pay close attention to what you say to recognise or praise others, how you say it and when you say it.

Employee recognition done right is easy, but it’s not simple. A recent article in an Australian business magazine reminded me how true this is, inspiring me to share with you these three requirements for effective, meaningful and impactful employee recognition. The three key ingredients for effective recognition are:

What You Say

Drive-by recognition or praise is not enough. A brief, “Hey, great job!” isn’t effective recognition. When recognising or praising someone for their work, be sure your words are:

• Specific – Tell the person not just what they did, but how their efforts helped you, the client or the company as a whole.

• Personal – Detail the person’s unique contribution or talent worthy of recognition.

• Meaningful – Always link the recognition moment to the bigger picture or greater goal. Help people see the broad value of their work.

How You Say It

The tone and context of your message of recognition is equally important for effective recognition. Make sure what you say is:

• Sincere – Make sure you mean your words of praise. False flattery or under-handed compliments demean your message of recognition and your staff will easily see through insincerity.

• Focused – Don’t cloud your praise with an additional “ask” e.g. “Great job on the ACME project! Can you apply the same approach to the Smith task?”, or confuse it with a compliment sandwich such as “Great job on the ACME project, but you could have also included more data. I’m sure you’ll do even better next time!”

When You Say It

Timing of recognition matters. That’s why the “employee of the month” or worse, “employee of the quarter” or annual recognition events fail to deliver on the promise of strategic recognition. Be sure the recognition you give is:

• Timely – Recognition is a powerful, positive way to reinforce action or behaviors you want to see again and again, but that power is diluted the longer you wait to recognise someone. Make sure you share your detailed, specific praise soon after the event worthy of recognition.

• Frequent – Recognition should never be viewed as a “one-and-done” task or something you put on your calendar to do every other Friday. Just as recognition should be timely, it should also occur every time you see exceptional behaviors, actions or outcomes.

How do you typically recognise others? If you take the above into account it will make a significant difference to the level of staff engagement in your business as your employees will feel valued, appreciated and part of the team – all essential ingredients for success.

As part of our service offering to our clients, Brownie Points now offers recognition training to managers to ensure that they maximise the potential of their team. If you would like to know more call the team today on 03 9909 7411 or email us at

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