Three ways to find out what employee recognition is most valued by your team

by on May 12, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Employee rewards and recognition have the biggest impact when they are personalized

It stands to reason that employee recognition programs work best when managers know what kind of recognition employees really value for their high performance.

Yet too many employee recognition programs have that “taken off the shelf” feel and aren’t adapted to the people they’re supposed to recognize. This makes the program trite and the employees feel demotivated because the employee recognition has no value to them. It is also a sign of a communication disconnect between managers and employees That’s the bad news.

The good news: You don’t have to spend money doing a big employee survey to find out what’s meaningful for your employees.

How to scout out what employees value for your employee recognition program

Here are three things you and/or line managers can do to get that information, easily and at low cost:

  1. As part of the orientation/onboarding of each new employee, ask them to tell you about their favorite recognition moment from a former job. What did they do to earn the award? How did it make them feel? If applicable, where is the award now?
  2. The next time you’re talking to an employee, ask, “If you had a day off to spend just as you wanted, what would you do?” Do this with different people. Seeing an employee as a complete person is a prerequisite to choosing the best form of employee recognition.
  3. List what you know about each of the people you manage. What do they hang on their cubicle walls? Do they have kids, and if so, how old are they? Do they like hot or cold weather? Then ask yourself: Which of these people do I know the least about? Take the time this week to visit that person in their office/cubicle and get to know them better.

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

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