■■ In the moment? We respond to instant gratification.
Acknowledgement at the time, even a small gesture, can be
more motivating than a ceremony eight months later.
■■ In context? Are employees recognized by peers where the work
■■ Appropriate in volume and scale? Examine the benchmarks
for productivity in your workplace, and ensure the recognition
■■ Authentic as opposed to automatic? Unless your workplace
is a grade school class, there should be no awards “because
everyone else got one” or “we have to give it to somebody this
■■ Tied to the employee’s perception of value? A golfing trip with
the team may seem like your dream reward, but to an employee
yearning for more family time, it may seem like another duty to
Informal recognition is also important. Leaders that are con-nected
to employees through daily visits, check-ins and open-door
invitations contribute greatly to the social connection vital to to-day’s
employees. Even if informal or off-the-cuff, be specific when
giving positive feedback, and encourage peers to do the same.
Precise feedback is both genuine and constructive; general or am-biguous
praise is easily dismissed. Also ensure everyone in your
workplace has a voice when it comes to sharing feedback. Be sure
the invitation is shared with everyone, and avenues are in place to
enable timely and easy feedback.
Informal engagement also allows leaders to monitor the need
for recharging. Vacations, seminars, conferences and retreats are
powerful in more ways than one. Offered strategically as part of
an overall recognition program, they can provide recognition and
team building opportunities, while injecting new ideas and infor-mation
into the workplace and providing a change of scenery that
everyone routinely requires.
Effective leaders align their employee engagement efforts with
the overall workplace culture. Above all, these leaders know who
their employees are, as well as what they do and how well they do
it. This knowledge forges the connection vital to the success of any
recognition program. So as a part of employee recognition, exam-ine
the management structure as well. Start with managers suited
for the job and engagement goals that are clear and realistic. Then
coach your managers and hold them accountable for engagement
of their employees.
At the end of the day, employees are generally seeking attention
from their organization – specifically, positive feedback, peer rec-ognition
and praise from their leaders. Whatever your workplace
capacity and culture, recognition will lead to successful engage-ment
if delivered in a personal, heartfelt way. ■
Kathleen Powers is business solutions manager for Fraser & Hoyt Incentives.
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46 ❚ OCTOBER 2014 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL