01 SEP, 2016

Make Sure Recognition Matches Employee Preferences

Colleagues celebrating the birthday of their boss

Successful organizations understand the significant role rewards and recognition play in creating a great work environment. But while there may be similarities in recognition programs, effective recognition is personalized for the individual. There are ways to express your appreciation in a way that matches personal preferences.

Determine where recognition will be delivered.

Not everyone is an extrovert. By that same token, not everyone likes to stand on a stage in front of a large (or small) audience. But public recognition does have a positive impact on organizational culture when employees enjoy celebrating others’ contributions. If an employee dreads the thought of joining you on a stage, don’t force them to do so—look for other ways to recognize them in a way that respects their comfort level.

In some cases, it may be enough to deliver the recognition one-on-one. In other cases, some form of public recognition may be required based on the situation. In that case, send an email message to the team that highlights the employee’s achievements. If you’re making a presentation, include their photo instead of asking them to come to the stage. Or if possible, celebrate their contributions on your intranet or in the company newsletter. Whatever method you use, make sure it demonstrates your respect and understanding of each employee’s preference when it comes to the level of public recognition they are comfortable receiving.

Consider who should recognize an employee’s efforts.

In some cases, having an executive or business leader present an award adds clout to the recognition. Some employees will appreciation the status that comes with being acknowledged by senior-level members of the organization, while others may not. Also ensure that the person who delivers the recognition is able to do so in a genuine manner that does not feel forced or awkward. If so, it’s always better for the employee’s manager to do it.

Recognize in ways that represent your company culture.

Beyond including your company logo on reward materials, the way you recognize should reflect the culture and values of your organization. Reference shared values, the work that was done, or the company-wide initiative the employee’s contributions supported.

When you’re creating your recognition strategy, consider how your overall approach matches your company culture—is your recognition more traditional (e.g. the employee of the month) or are you using a modern approach? If you’re a really young and fun company, giving out trophies or old fashioned printed certificates doesn’t make sense, while more traditional companies would be remiss in getting rid of some of these tried and true methods that veteran employees appreciate.

Some employees will be upfront about their personal needs when it comes to recognition. Others won’t. If you don’t know how to personalize recognition for an employee, you need to ask. Inquire with their colleagues—or ask the employee directly—to understand their preferences. Get creative with your recognition ideas and approach to ensure each recognition experience is as personal and as meaningful as possible.


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