What's the basis of an effective theory of employee recognition?

by on May 11, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

The “carrot and stick” analogy of employee recognition
Employee recognition uses the metaphor of the carrot, that you’re going to get more with the carrot or positive reinforcement to your employees than you are constantly using the big stick. So as we talk about a carrot culture that’s also a metaphor for creating a business place where good people want to come and build their careers.

What are the benefits of employee recognition?

I know in your positions and in your organizations you say look, I would like to be doing more of this, we kind of know intuitively that treating people well should pay off. What are the benefits? What’s the ROI on your employee recognition strategy? Well, as you’ll see through the presentation, retention, sustained productivity, more committed and engaged employees and higher profits are all benefits of a sound employee recognition strategy.

Employee recognition is the most powerful way you have to communicate what you value most. What I mean by that is that when you pull somebody up in front of their peers and you present them with an award, you’ve communicated that particular behavior goes to the level of recognition.

If you’ve then presented it in a small gathering or a group of employees also, what you’re saying is that this is now the standard of excellence, for whatever it might be – what’s the standard of excellence for on-time shipping, for innovation, for customer care, for client care, patient interaction. So, not only have you verbally communicated it, but you’ve presented the employee with a certificate, a lapel pin, keys to a small European sport’s car. Whatever it is that you pass out. By the way, you might also make a note – that Porsche really resonates with people.

If you really want to show appreciation, trust me, Porsche goes a long way. But the point is not only do that have that verbal, you know, memory and that ceremony, they’ve got a token. Something that they take away with them that then reminds them of that emotional engagement.

Great managers understand how to communicate with employee recognition.

Jack and Suzy Welch wrote an article on how do you keep your people pumped? Interestingly they talk about obviously comp and benefits is key. You’ve got to do that right. But after that, after you’ve got that figured out, number one is employee recognition, number two is celebration, which I thought was interesting because employee recognition and celebration are kind of the same thing.

He says no, the characteristic of great organizations and winning organizations is that they celebrate. People want to be a part of an organization that’s a winning organization. What’s a characteristic? Celebration. It says we don’t party enough. Third, and this comes back again to this idea of communication, have you communicated your vision and mission clearly? Do people really understand what it is the company is all about? And then fourthly, as an individual, how do I fit into that plan? Can I make a difference? Again, this idea of communication and the power of recognition.

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