Employee recognition is the timely, informal or formal acknowledgement of a person’s or team’s behavior, effort or business result that supports the organization’s goals and values, and which has clearly been beyond normal expectations.
To be really effective in your job, you need to understand the psychology of praising others for their good work, to apply the principles of employee recognition yourself and to encourage others to initiate it in their working relationships.
Appreciation is a fundamental human need. Employees respond to appreciation expressed through recognition of their good work because it confirms their work is valued. When employees and their work are valued, their satisfaction and productivity rises, and they are motivated to maintain or improve their good work.
Praise and recognition are essential to an outstanding workplace. People want to be respected and valued for their contribution. Everyone feels the need to be recognized as an individual or member of a group and to feel a sense of achievement for work well done or even for a valiant effort. Everyone wants a ‘pat on the back’ to make them feel good.
There are two aspects to employee recognition. The first aspect is to actually see, identify or realize an opportunity to praise someone. If you are not in a receptive frame of mind you can easily pass over many such opportunities. This happens all too frequently. The other aspect of employee recognition is, of course, the physical act of doing something to acknowledge and praise people for their good work.
As a PR practitioner, why should you get involved in employee recognition? Firstly, because you can use the principles to great effect in your own working relationships (and personal relationships).
Secondly, because employee recognition has a huge communication component! Recognizing people for their good work sends an extremely powerful message to the recipient, their work team and other employees through the grapevine and formal communication channels. Employee recognition is therefore a potent communication technique.
Employee recognition isn’t rocket science – it is an obvious thing to do. Despite the unquestioned benefits arising from employee recognition, one of the mysteries of the workplace is that recognition invariably is done badly, if done at all. Managers need reinforcing and coaching. Employee recognition remains an undervalued management technique.
One thing you can do is to ensure there are questions on employee recognition in your organization’s employee surveys. The results can be used to prove the need for greater employee recognition.
Surveys conducted by Sirota Consulting have revealed that only 51% of workers were satisfied with the recognition they received after a job well done.1 This figure is as conclusive as you could get – it has been reached from interviewing 2.5 million employees in 237 private, public and not-for-profit organizations in 89 countries around the world.
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