Can Recognition Boost Employee Engagement?

Written by: PeopleKeep Team
Originally published on December 1, 2014. Last updated July 9, 2015.

As an employer, it’s normal -if not critical- to constantly be searching for ways to get your employees 4351579395_6263c683b4_zexcited about their jobs. While there are a myriad of ways to get employees excited for work, can recognition boost employee engagement? Absolutely--here’s how and why.

Recognition - Engagement Basics

If you think back to some of the most basic forms of recognition as you were growing up, you’ll remember that, throughout your lifetime, you probably were recognized quite a bit. When you were in school and were told you did a “terrific job,” or when your parents said “we’re proud of you,” you would have felt a sense of accomplishment, right? This would have driven you to work harder to get the same recognition. Now that you’re an adult, this practice still holds true. You can use this same tactic with your employees, too.  

Now, this is not to say that employers should treat their employees like children, rather, it is that employers should realize the importance of recognition in the workplace and understand how to incorporate it for better employee engagement.

Who Should Recognize?

When it comes to employee engagement, who does the recognizing also matters. Allow different leaders at the company to recognize employees that stand out. This shows the team your leaders are keyed in to the larger company vision, and further reinforces the culture you are establishing. It also engages managers to embrace and communicate the company vision – all important for becoming a successful and engaged company.

Idea: Create an employee recognition program that allows employees to nominate each other for “employee of the month.” This can be done with a simple name on the wall, a flashy email, or a monthly get together.

Ways to Recognize Employees

There’s no specific way that you have to recognize your employees, just make sure it happens - whether by you or your leaders. However, here are some tips for recognizing your employees:

  1. In correct context: make sure your employees are recognized at the right time and in the correct context. Think about where and when they’ll be recognized.

  2. Tie into vision: as employees are recognized, tie in your company’s vision and how their great work is helping the company move forward.

  3. In the moment: recognition doesn’t always have to be a large get together. Sometimes, it’s best to recognize employees right in the very moment. A simple “thank you” goes a long way and doesn’t require a public gathering.

  4. Be authentic: it’s important that your employees know that their recognition is authentic and not forced or simply fulfilling a requirement. Never look at recognizing an employee as something that you have to do, rather, something you are privileged to do.

Employee Engagement

Now that you understand how, and why to recognize, how can recognition boost employee engagement? Just as stated before, it’s a simple concept: recognition leads to a sense of accomplishment. When employees feel accomplished, they’re more likely to work harder and become more engaged. They'll be happier and will see the company’s vision and feel that they are part of it.

As you make recognition by you and your leaders a priority in your company, you’ll begin to see the changes that occur. Employees will see that their efforts are not forgotten and will further understand the value of working hard.

What are some ways that you have recognized your employees to boost engagement? Comment below and join the discussion!



Originally published on December 1, 2014. Last updated July 9, 2015.


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