The Benefits of Recognition

By Debbie Patrick, Walt Disney World,
“Recognition News,” Vol. 2, Issue 2


As society changes and business becomes even more competitive as we move into the new millennium, attracting and retaining good employees is foremost on the minds of leaders in all types of business.

People spend a few years at a company and them move on. Employees are looking for not only fair pay, but good benefits, perks, recognition of their accomplishments, job satisfaction, advancement opportunities, and involvement in the business. When an employer doesn’t meet these needs, they look elsewhere.

Recognition is a leadership tool that can help to retain your best employees. Recognition programs and informal types of recognition make a statement to the employees about what is important to the business and what is valued by leaders of the business. Employees need to know how their job performance fits into the company’s operation and what their impact is on the business. Recognition also helps to accomplish culture shifts and is directly linked to the quality process, continuous improvement, and effective organizational change.

Recognition builds self-esteem in an individual, reinforces desired behaviors, and helps to create an atmosphere of appreciation and trust. Effective recognition contributes to job satisfaction and pride in one’s work, promotes empowerment and involvement, and creates loyalty to a company.

A well-defined program can enhance the workplace and make employees eager to come to work and give their best for their company. When designing programs, companies need to understand that recognition is a powerful tool. It will take anywhere from six months to two years to complete an assessment of your culture, define your goals, and design a program and process that will support your business and move your company toward success.

All too often, a program is put together to close a gap or meet a need, and the long-term consequences are not taken into consideration. Careful planning and due diligence in administering the program are essential for success.

Your recognition strategy should tie into the strategic initiatives of your organization. The employees should be involved in the design and implementation of the program. The program should be based on performance and fairness should be built into the selection process by allowing a cross-functional, multilevel group of individuals to determine the recipients.

Peer-to-peer recognition is a powerful motivator a highly valued by employees in any work environment. Use it to help create a climate of teamwork and support.

Once your program is in place, complete assessments periodically to ensure the program is still meeting your needs and driving the behaviors that will make you company successful. Measure your program’s success through Annual Opinion Surveys, competitive benchmarking, focus groups with your employees, tracking participation in the program, and most important, with time. Employees get tired of the “flavor of the month” program, when all they truly want is to be appreciated and valued for what the contribute.

Recognition works. It should be a critical component of your business

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