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How to fail at employee recognition Part 1

By June 7, 2017 May 6th, 2020 No Comments

We’re all familiar with the benefits of employee recognition. When employees feel valued, appreciated and respected, and are constantly being positively challenged or stretched in their role, they tend to be more engaged, more motivated, and more likely to go “above and beyond” or give discretionary effort.

However, it amazes me that although the statement above is supported by the majority of managers and senior executives, many companies still completely fail at employee recognition.

Here in Part I of this blog are a five ways companies consistently fail at employee recognition, and thus miss out on the benefits of increased performance, improved customer experience, or reduced employee turnover and absenteeism, along with some suggestions on how to fix the issue.

  1. Failure to recognise your employees positive behaviour or contribution in real time.

Don’t leave an employee waiting to be recognised. The power of recognition is partly in the timing and feedback, as close to real time recognition is the most positive and meaningful, so show that you’re invested in your employees work and success to keep them motivated and striving to reach the next milestone.

Authentic and meaningful recognition happens in real time, so make it happen.

  1. The recognition you give is generic, stale, and predictable.

If your staff receive the same old type of praise, regardless of their contribution to the team or their personal preferences, the effect will be reduced over time. It won’t feel genuine as it becomes predictable and your recognition strategy will probably start having a negative effect.

While you may regularly recognise the same positive behaviours, mix up the feedback to keep it fresh, and make it personal and specific.

  1. You only recognise achievement.

If you’re only recognising success and goal achievement, you’re not maximising employee engagement in your company. You end up with a few “winners” and many “losers.”

Failure to appreciate employees for putting in extra hours, taking on a greater or more challenging workload, or going above and beyond their job description, will see employees start to withhold their discretionary effort.

Implement your recognition programs so that all employees can be appreciated.

  1. Employee of the month is great, but…

Awards like Employee of the Month and Rookie of the Year are great, but if they’re your only outlet for recognising employees, a lot of success and effort will go unnoticed, and again you will have a few winners and many losers.

Implement monthly, quarterly and annual awards based around peer nominations, but also ensure that other types of recognition are given to employees throughout the year, to recognise great contribution. Introducing recognition for staff referrals, innovation or cost saving ideas, or generating sales leads in non- sales roles are worth considering.

  1. Your program doesn’t allow your employees to recognise one another.

Recognition from immediate managers and senior leaders is important, but don’t overlook the impact of praise from a close co-worker. Peer recognition is very powerful, and after all, they are more likely to witness peer contribution than managers, who may not be aware of such.

Allow peers to give one another kudos when they see an opportunity, as team members and work buddies often have more insight into employee effort and morale than upper-level leaders do.

Brownie Points employee engagement programs allow you to deliver real time, peer, manager and customer feedback that celebrates all types of employee contribution, with an easy to use, low cost of maintenance platform that helps drive employee engagement.

If you would like to know how Brownie Points can help you deliver thanks an appreciation to your employees who are living your vision, call the team today on 03 9909 7411, or email us at

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