Employee rewards: Do it frequently or not at all

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

Poll data shows people need recognition every 7 days on average.

Here’s a surprising and challenging factoid: For employees to feel committed and valued at work, they need some form of employee recognition every seven working days.

Wow. That figure, from the Gallup polling organization, translates into recognizing each person 35 times a year. What does this research imply? If you’re going to motivate with employee rewards and recognition, you need to do it frequently. Haphazard employee recognition, it seems, is just a waste of time. We said this was a challenging concept, and so it is. But it doesn’t have to be daunting.


Most organizations can’t afford to hand out employee rewards like Mont Blanc pens or Rolex watches to everybody who does a good job on a project. Nor do you want to be seen as “bribing” people to do their jobs. What managers can do is say Thank You. A few managers have the knack for doing this naturally, but more often, they have to get into the habit. This is where HR can help – by unlocking in managers the inclination that we all have to thank people for their help.


Here are a couple of techniques to start making employee recognition a frequent, natural event in your workplace:
Create ” employee rewards logs.”
This is a simple spreadsheet with the names of each manager’s direct reports in the rows, and weeks chronologically in the columns. Managers note in the boxes what they’ve recognized about each employee that week.
Print up thank-you “checkbooks.”
Give managers these “checkbooks,” which contain a bound stack of thankyou notes. Each note has space for the manager to personalize it with a specific note to the recipient.
Set aside time in staff meetings for recognition.
Encourage managers to make recognition an agenda item. They’ll choose at least one employee to recognize at each regular meeting.

Source: “The Carrot Principle,” by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton

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