3 Attributes and 5 Excuses About Increasing Employee Engagement Through Recognition

Cartoon of the wrong way of Increasing Employee Engagement Through Recognition

Increasing Employee Engagement Through Recognition
Experts in employee engagement agree, recognizing the accomplishments and extra discretionary effort of employees is a critical key to establishing a high performance culture.

Make Sure Employees Are Recognized When They Contribute to the Organization’s Success
Everyone wants to be appreciated for the work they do and to understand the value of their contribution to the overall enterprise. It is an important part of a manager’s job to acknowledge excellent work and appreciate extraordinary employees.

What Recognition Matters Most?
So many managers either fail to recognize their team members effectively and appropriately or they fail to recognize them at all. It’s important to recognize employees “right.”  The above cartoon illustrates some of the negatives of doing it wrong.

Three Employee Attributes to Increase Employee Engagement Through Recognition
Recognizing employees the “right” way requires that employees:

#1.  Are Deserving
The Employee of the Month in the cartoon shows surprise.  She may not know why she’s being singled out (the boss gives no specifics) or she may not feel she deserves the reward.   Effective rewards and recognition are clear, upfront, timely, meaningful, fair, proportionate and consistent.

#2.  Understand Why
Without clear reasons for the recognition, her colleagues are upset and feel diminished. For rewards and recognition to be effective, the standards of high performance should be clear, transparent and trusted.

#3.  Find the Recognition Meaningful
The reward itself seems intended only to inconvenience and anger others. Rewards should be tailored to the situation and to the recipient.  Add meaning to your rewards by ensuring they are linked to “why people want to stay and perform.”

Five Leadership Excuses to Not Increase Employee Engagement Though Recognition
And then there are the managers who neglect to reward and recognize employees at all. Here are some of their excuses. You might hear them claim they are:

  • Too Busy to Notice High Performance
    These are managers who don’t get that work gets done through people. With too much focus on the tasks to be done, they neglect the human needs of the team members who are executing the tasks.
  • Uncertain of How to Reward and Recognize
    Managers should be trained on how to reward and recognize high performance as part of their training in performance management and giving effective feedback.
  • Not Convinced Rewards and Recognition Matter
    Some managers feel that employees shouldn’t need a pat on the back…they think the paycheck is enough. But we know that whether an employee feels valued is highly correlated with their engagement. And engaged workers are over 40% more productive and effective than their unengaged counterparts.
  • Afraid of Playing Favorites
    Treating different talent differently is the hallmark of an effective talent management strategy. If only a few are deserving of recognition and you are clear about why you reward their contributions, other team members should not feel overlooked.  Just be sure to recognize individuals when their work was on their own and teams when the effort was collaborative.
  • Worried About the Expectation of a Raise
    Well recognized employees may ask for a raise. The manager needs to determine if that’s possible. Surely top talent should be fairly compensated. But there may be ways other than a salary hike to reward “A” players.

The Bottom Line
If you are the type of manager who does not recognize deserving employees for their extra efforts and contributions, what’s your excuse?

To learn more about engaging and retaining top talent, download the 3 Key Top Talent Retention Strategies You Need to Know Before it is Too Late

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