Five Key Points for Today’s Employee Recognition

Employee recognition it not just a monthly plaque on the wall. But it’s almost as easy, liberating, and worth working on._

Employee Recognition that Your Best Players will Actually Remember_

If any of your employees are impressed by the old “Employee of the Month” you might just re-consider that employee. The rest of us roll our eyes, believe none of it, and question your honesty.


We understand that management is busy. Too busy for us. But we don’t quite get how a hollow effort like that is still hanging on. Just drop it already.

If you want to recognize your employees then keep thee couple of points in mind.

Number one, you should be recognizing behaviors, actions, responses and techniques – not results, sales or numbers.

If you can, hire a writer to describe appropriate and effective behaviors that align with your company’s core values. Make sure your writer understands the values, and send them out again by email to your whole company. No stickers, no plaques, no trophies.

Number two, make sure that the vast majority of your organization or your company can actively participate in your recognition program. In addition to being a great engagement exercise, it’s also a terrific way to put your core company values back in front of employees again.

Make sure every employee can see how those values are useful and make sure this document can be shared with the public. (It doesn’t have to be.)

The core company values are going to provide more than just another plaque, but if you’ve visited before, you already know they’re something that gets a lot of attention.

So what does recognition look like?

Well, it really doesn’t have to be money. Employees are far more interested in gestures toward work-life balance. Working from home and more flex time or just more freedom are wildly successful at keeping people happy.

We’re actually big activists about the Flexi-time rewards package and completely voluntary employee scheduling because it tends to show fast, noticeable and robust results.

You can also spot lunches, and have a face to face. Or get managers to do it. The point is this…

Third, what about management recognition? This is powerful one. You’ll meet tons of resistance and get to throw out some of the people who are really holding your company back and probably costing you a fortune. But keep it constructive, open, honest and as transparent as possible but without necessarily requiring confrontation.

You know already who the good people managers are. If managers are costing you people then they are costing you money too, and probably lots of it.

Employee recognition takes a lot of forms. Sales numbers are a big loser, but on average, they are one of the few KPIs that most managers are looking at. Work with your managers to explore other KPIs that can be recognized and pinned down, and then set up a system where employees are actively voting for their co-workers – and managers – who best reflect those KPIs and the core values. There’s really no way you are going to lose.

Photo this page: Roman Fountain by Chezenatiko on Wikimedia Commons

Karin Jakovljevic

About the author

Karin Jakovljevic

Karin Jakovljevic is the head of marketing at Ximble, a powerful, cloud-based workforce management system, simplifying employee scheduling and time tracking for retailers, restaurants and small businesses.

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