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Five Tips for Effective Recognition

By April 27, 2015 May 6th, 2020 No Comments

The following article was written by Susan M. Heathfield and was published in About Money recently.

Employee recognition is not just a nice thing to do for people. Employee recognition is a powerful business communication tool that reinforces and rewards the most important outcomes people create for your business. When you recognise people effectively, you reinforce, with your chosen means of recognition, the actions and behaviors you most want to see people repeat. An effective employee recognition system is simple, immediate, and powerfully reinforcing.

When you consider employee recognition processes, you need to develop recognition that is equally powerful for both the organisation and the employee. You need to consider addressing five important issues if you want the recognition you offer to be viewed as motivating and rewarding by your employees and important for the success of your organisation.

To ensure success you need to establish criteria for what performance or contribution constitutes rewardable behavior or actions.

The Five Most Important Tips for Effective Recognition are :-

– All employees must be eligible for the recognition.

– The recognition must supply the employer and employee with specific information about what behaviours or actions are being rewarded and    recognised.

– Anyone who then performs at the level or standard stated in the criteria receives the recognition or reward.

– The recognition should occur as close to the time of the performance of the actions as possible, so the recognition reinforces behavior the employer wants to encourage.

– You don’t want to design a process in which managers “select” the people to receive recognition. This type of process will be viewed forever as “favouritism” or talked about as “it’s your turn to get recognised this month.” This is why processes that single out an individual, such as “Employee of the Month,” are rarely effective, unless carefully considered.

In addition, you should consider the following recognition and performance management challenges:-

  • If you attach recognition to “real” accomplishments and goal achievement as negotiated in a performance development planning meeting, you need to make sure the recognition meets the above stated requirements. Supervisors must also apply the criteria consistently, so some organisational oversight may be necessary.

The challenge of individually negotiated goals is to make certain their accomplishment is viewed as similarly difficult by the organisation for the process to be a success.

  • People also like recognition that is random and that provides an element of surprise. If you thank a manufacturing group every time they make customer deliveries on time with a lunch, gradually the lunch becomes a “given” or an entitlement and is no longer rewarding.

Rewards and recognition that help both the employer and the employee get what they need from work are a win-win situation. Make this the year you plan a recognition process that will “wow” your staff and “wow” you with its positive outcomes. Avoid the employee recognition traps that:

– Single out a few employees who are mysteriously selected for the recognition

– Sap the morale of the many who failed to understand the criteria enough to compete and win, and

– Seek votes or other personalised, subjective criteria to determine winners.

To learn about how we can help you to launch and support a successful staff engagement program, call the Brownie Points team on 03 9909 7411 or email us at


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