Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Employee Recognition

People basically work for rewards. There are numerous forms of rewards and not everyone enjoys the same rewards. I have found this book by Bob Nelson a great source for ideas on different ways to reward employees.

When it comes to rewards in the workplace public employee recognition is one most powerful in terms of cultural transformation. It is especially important to engage in good employee recognition practices when you want to develop a productive workplace. Unfortunately, many either don’t do this or don’t do this well.

The best formula I have found for recognizing employees for their efforts is:

1) Thank them by name.

2) Specifically state what they did that is being recognized. It is vital to be specific because it identifies and reinforces the desired behavior.

3) Explain how the behavior or activity made you feel (assuming you felt some pride or respect for their accomplishment!).

4) Point out the value created by the behavior or activity to the team or organization.

5) Thank the people again by name for their contribution.

Every time you make life at work more satisfying for your employees, you are increasing the rewards they reap from doing their jobs well – and you make them want to continue to do so.


  1. At one place I worked we had cards that said, on the cover, "Thank You!" and also, "Gracias!" Ninety percent of the workforce had Spanish as their first language.

    We encouraged supervisors to use them for handwritten notes of appreciation,using very similar guidelines to yours. Managers and the owner also developed the habit or recognizing this way. The notes were often treasured, taken home to share with wife, kids, parents. I have a few handwritten notes from over the years that I hang on to. Don't email it. Hand write it. It is powerful.

  2. Tim,

    Great post. It sounds simple enough but unfortunately, it's all to easy to neglect these steps.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Chris Paulsen