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Recognition is a positive consequence provided to a person for a desired behaviour or result. Recognition can take the form of acknowledgement, approval, or the expression of gratitude. Employee recognition can be broken down into the following:
FORMAL - A structured or planned program for desired performance. Examples include President's Award, Employee of the Month awards, and so on. This recognition can be significant and symbolic, given the public forum in which it is typically presented.
INFORMAL - A spontaneous gesture of sincere thanks for desired behaviour or performance. These forms of recognition are increasingly more important to today's employees than formal recognition.
DAY-TO-DAY - Daily feedback about positive employee performance. Examples include; dropping by to tell someone "good job"; a simple thank you in person or in front of others etc. This is the ultimate form of recognition - it's where the rubber meets the road in creating a results-oriented culture of recognition for your organization.
1. Find out what your employees want - don't assume you know.
By unilaterally deciding what to do or what to give employees who perform well, you run the risk of missing the motivational mark. Instead, involve employees in determining what would best rewards or recognize them for doing good work - avoid surprises.
2. Lead by example - model the behaviour you expect others to follow.
Having top managers practice employee recognition sets the tone for all managers and send the message, "If I can make time to do this, no one else in the organization has an excuse not to."
3. Realize that one type of recognition no longer fits all.
Paying even above-market rates or having a few traditional (and predictable) recognition activities or a single great formal recognition program is no longer enough. Update formal recognition programs to make them exciting and relevant. In short, you've got to be experimenting, learning, and discussing recognition ideas and activities on an ongoing basis.
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