"The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated." — Mark McCormack
Employee recognition is a powerful tool to sustain high performance levels in your employees. It is also a channel through which you communicate to your employees the kind of actions and attitude you like them to execute. Thus, you establish the performance patterns that enhance productivity and render you a competitive edge.
It seems like a simple concept: Make employees feel appreciated, and they will work harder and be more loyal. But there is often a disconnect between the type of appreciation employees want and what their managers think they want.
Most managers only practice recognition after the fact – which is rewarding people for achievements. Rewards are great, however they are only a trade (first you achieve something and then I reward you for it) and they only cause short term motivation (if the rewards stop coming, performance will decrease as well, because the trade is out of balance).
But if you can recognize them before the achievement you can engage them. It makes them feel heard, valued, involved and important. Recognizing how people like to be treated; what training, information or tools they need to do their job; what their ambitions, talents, personality type and motivational drivers are, helps us to respond to them in a way that brings out the best in them. All this assures sustainable motivation.