The four key levels of the employee recognition

by on May 8, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

The right levels of employee recognition are essential to keep up employee motivation

A lot of organizations like the idea of recognizing their people for a job well done. But often they don’t know if the employee recognition(praise, rewards, bonus, etc) is the right amount at the right time – and sometimes that lack of knowledge stops them from trying. If you’ve found yourself in this pickle, there’s a method of thinking about recognition that may help.

The employee recognition pyramid

Most laudable employee behaviors fall into one of four categories. Here they are, along with proper levels of recognition for each:

  1. Thank-yous reward the small steps that lead to success. For instance, you might hear from several customers that a given employee is always courteous and helpful. Thank the employee with an e-card, handwritten note, movie tickets or gift basket. Don’t exceed $50.
  2. Bronze awards are appropriate when someone goes above and beyond your core values on a onetime basis. This might be an employee who saves a big account by soothing an angry customer, or who stays late to complete an important document. Here, we’re talking about tangible items in the $50-$100 range: dinner for two, tickets to a sports event and so on.
  3. Silver awards recognize ongoing above-and-beyond behaviors. Into this category fall employees who improve the way you pitch prospective customers, stay late for weeks to meet a project deadline, or mentor a new employee to productivity. A silver award consists of merchandise that is worth $100- $500, and is publicly presented.
  4. Gold awards are reserved for exceptional behavior – one-time or ongoing – that produces a significant bottom-line result. Think of an employee who is granted a patent, develops a new system that saves money, or breaks a performance record. Here, the award will be worth at least $500, and ideally include both cash and something tangible and memorable.

The right level of employee incentive keeps the reward meaningful and reinforces your corporate goals in a positive way.

Source: “The Carrot Principle,” by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton, ISBN-13: 978-0-7432-9009-8.

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