Employee Recognition: What For?

July 22, 2014

In Employee Engagement

Everyone needs recognition. We may act “all tough” and pretend to be above it all, but the fact is, we all need to be recognized. It is a fundamental human need. Still, in a recent study conducted by the l’Ordre des Conseillers en Ressources Humaines Agréés (CRHA), 50% of Quebecois claim that they have not enough recognition at work. Organizations still have a long way to go to adequately recognize their employees.

But why should we recognize our employees? After all, they’re getting paid to do their job right? Yes and no. Employees receive monetary compensation to accomplish a certain job duty. And in general, they deliver on it. But what about the additional effort, the discretionary effort, the creativity, the new ideas? Is an employee’s salary enough of a compensation in exchange for all of this? What’s the right balance? That’s where recognition comes into play. Just like autonomy, employee recognition is also an engagement lever. What organization wouldn’t want more highly engaged employees?

Ask yourself this question: when you are recognized for what you do well, when you are made to feel like what you’re doing is valuable, that your contribution to your organization is priceless, do you then feel like doing more or less? In fact, when we are recognized for something that we do well, we internalize that behavior so that it becomes part of our identity and we then tend to reproduce this behavior. What is recognized gets repeated.

What do you recognize in your organization? What behaviors are highlighted, recognized, congratulated, compensated? You get more of what you celebrate. What do you celebrate?

Recognizing a job well done only requires a few seconds. Everyone can do it, be it a manager, an employee, the CEO, everyone can recognize their colleagues.

Here’s a challenge for you: every day, during the next 30 days, take 1 minute to recognize someone in your surrounding. You can do it over the phone, by sending an e-mail or in person. You can recognize a colleague, a boss, or a friend. Try it for 30 days. Then see the result by yourself!

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