Employee Recognition - Why It's Important

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After an unstable year where employee loyalty, commitment and the ability to remain agile was crucial to an organisation’s success, it may be time to reassess how recognition is offered to staff members.

What is employee recognition?

Employee recognition is a way of giving positive feedback that is provided in acknowledgement of performance or results and can take the form of a tangible or intangible transaction. Often, both praise and a reward is given as a way of recognising excellent work.   

Why should recognition be shown to employees?

Recognition is necessary to an organisation’s success as it helps employees to see that they are valued by their company and that the contributions they are making are considered as part of the company’s overall success. When organisations grow, change or enter new phases recognition is especially important as it helps employees to feel appreciated, which in turn leads them to understand their worth, makes them feel secure in their roles at the company and motivates them to continue delivering to a high standard.

How can recognition be shown?

Recognition can be shown in many different ways and can include anything from a personalised note, a mention or profile in a company-wide email or in the form of a gift or bonus. Recognition may be felt differently by each person and where some employees may be chuffed with an email from their team leader praising them for their hard work, others might be motivated by incentives like cash or gift cards. 

Establishing what ‘recognition’ looks like to your organisation

It can be difficult to gauge the frequency at which recognition should be shown, in what way and for which accomplishments. Some companies elect to only acknowledge staff during milestones such as anniversaries or promotions, whereas other organisations will show their appreciation to staff by giving end-of-project gifts, taking teams out for celebratory meals or paying cash bonuses, while some organisations will provide recognition at unexpected intervals simply for a job well done.

Leaders within the organisation should work to establish guidelines for what recognition looks like for the company and assess when it is appropriate for recognition to be accompanied by a reward.

When should recognition be shown?

Ideally, recognition will be shown more often than not, especially when it comes in the form of praise for specific work done. It is important to reward strong performance when it is still at the forefront of the minds of those being rewarded, such as just after receiving client feedback or after a pitch has been delivered so that it does not feel forced or untimely and so the employee understands exactly what they are being praised and/or rewarded for.

Maintaining consistency when providing recognition

Depending on the size of the organisation, the budget for rewards to accompany recognition and how many staff members are being recognised, a yearly plan may need to be made to ensure consistency. This is more important for smaller organisations with fewer teams or departments.

While praising staff and instilling a sense of worth in them is never a bad thing, lumping praise on only a select number of staff runs the risk of inciting jealousy in staff whose managers don’t offer the same praise or positive feedback.

Rather than buying gifts or meals for teams or individuals on an ad-hoc basis each time a high standard of work is achieved, smaller businesses may aim to recognise staff at a capped number of times per year or provide recognition and rewards through promotions or more covertly such as with a pay rise, that allow the employee to feel appreciated while also developing their careers.

Senior leaders should also try to instil a culture of recognition and praise so that highlighting achievements becomes ‘the norm’.

If your business or organisation needs advice in relation to employee recognition or other human resources matters, speak to a HR consultant in Cairns today.