Dollars and sense: Recognition of employees is powerful

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 13, 2005

&8220;Employees just do not care about their work or even about their jobs like they did years ago. The concept of loyalty is gone.&8221;

This response would likely be frequently repeated if you polled any group of managers and business owners about their most troublesome problems.

So how can managers combat this reality? By applying the power of recognition, any manager can build a more productive and loyal workforce.

Most managers are quick to tell employees about things they need to improve upon but are typically poor at recognizing desirable performance.

Management often labors under the misconception that money is the most powerful motivator. While none of us would likely ever work for free, in reality money is historically only about the fourth most important reason why people work.

Surveys conducted during the past 50-plus years consistently show that recognition for doing good work is ranked well ahead of money as the most powerful motivator for employees.

So what is recognition? It can take on many forms, from a holiday turkey to extra paid time off to a sincere, &8220;thank you for your effort today.&8221;

Recognition does not have to be expensive to be powerful. Many different forms of recognition can be effective. Experiment. Talk to your staff and soon you will discover the types of recognition that will work best in your workplace. No matter what form your recognition activities take, do not forget these basics.

-Recognize often and always sincerely.

-Be specific when you heap praise on others. Make sure they know why you are recognizing them.

-Recognize employees publicly. They will love it and so will their co-workers.

-Create recognition celebrations. Such activities are great for building morale.

-Recognize the little things. A handwritten thank you note from the boss is worth millions to the employee that receives it.

Imagine a workplace where once again people really care about doing good work, and about the company. That’s the value that any business can reap by effectively and sincerely using the power of recognition.

Kevin McKenzie is a partner in the Moser Group, a Birmingham based training, coaching and consulting company. His e-mail address is