How Often Should You Give an Employee Recognition?
Expectations have shifted when it comes to employee recognition. For example, going back at least 20 years, many, if not most, great employees went unrecognized for years at a time. Now, however, Millennials entering the work force are used to being recognized often, and it serves as a valuable motivation tool. The issue is not Millennial-specific, either. By recognizing employees of any age on a regular and frequent basis, a company builds loyalty and goodwill. Here are a few ways in which companies, HR professionals, and managers can approach employee recognition.
Prioritize “Informal” and Frequent Recognition
Employee recognition is a multigenerational issue, and informal recognition can be just as valuable, if not more valuable, than formal recognition programs. Informal recognition takes many forms. One example is praising an employee on troubleshooting a tricky customer problem. It is important, though, that the recognition be sincere and not mere recognition for its own sake.
Train Managers and HR Professionals
Managers and HR professionals may need training on how to identify areas for recognition and how to deliver this recognition informally. One way to deliver recognition is to congratulate someone for an accomplishment at the beginning of staff meetings—be sure to alternate recognitions to avoid singling the same people out again and again. Another approach is an employee bulletin board for employees to recognize one another. A “way to go!” for an incredible teamwork effort on a project can serve as a visible motivator.
“Great work!” from a manager may sound nice, but specific details are better. “Great work on resolving the Jones computer issue. You prioritized really well and stayed calm under huge stress,” is more specific and more likely to engage an employee.
Ditch Expensive, Formal Recognition Programs
Strive for programs in which recognition for employees is frequent; small bonuses can be good for this type of program. Not enough people know about or care about getting a trophy for staying at the company for 15 years.