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June 12 , 2008

Recognize THEM!

52 Ways to Recognize Your Employees In Ways They Value


Employee recognition is a $40 billion industry. And as it has grown, employee engagement levels have remain unchanged and uninspiring. 70% of employees in the US remain disengaged, intellectually and emotionally, with their work and their results. These are 52 ways you can recognize your employees in ways your employees will value. How can I say that with such confidence? I have used each of these 52 ways in building a company strong enough to thrive in the face of two wars, a recession while competing against global brands whose advertising budgets dwarfed our company's total revenues. Yet, by recognizing the strengths and talents of our employees in ways in which they valued we became an indomitable force for our customers and ourselves. Recognition by peers and by one's immediate bosses is one of the top ways to instill engagement and passion for their work among your employees. What's often overlooked by the well-meaning leaders in the employee recognition industry is the power of the simple steps to recognize another person. Saying hi, listening, recognizing their accomplishments to their peers and managers, celebrating those successes on social media, giving them the best parking spaces, organizing meetings so they are productive and meaningful. These are some of the simple steps that require not budget approval, no boring powerpoint presentations before a board or fellow managers. I used them and they drove revenue growth, positive cash flows, streams of positive testimonials and referrals, raised our customer loyalty scores and created an engaged and passionate culture of engaged workers where the primary expressions each day were smiles and congratulations. Employee recognition starts with recognizing that person who stands in front of you, who works with you each day, whose success contributes to yours, who spends the majority of their waking hours working with you and others to build a brand for which they can be proud. Employee recognition, in these simple steps, acknowledges our primary drivers as people and employees. Those drivers are overwhelmingly intrinsic not extrinsic. These include the ability to be recognized among their peers and by their immediate managers, the chance to grow, the tools and resources to accomplish their work, the authority and autonomy to work as an adult, the chance to fail and learn from that failure. Extrinsic motivations, salary and bonuses, are important. But ranking them among all motivators leaves them near the bottom of the list. The reason I shared this list along with inspiring quotes and the story of a successful leader who realized he could be even more successful if he invested a few moments each day in recognizing those around him is I understand the challenge of business leaders in building and sustaining their business. I understand the barrage of distractions demanding their time and the easy lure of pretty colors and the shiniest, newest, management buzzwords. Employee recognition is one of those trendy buzzwords. But it's execution is timeless. These steps can be used with any sized company in any country in any industry. You can take many of these steps as soon as you read them. You can see the results and learn as you go, customizing them for your culture's needs. They are steps too often overlooked as more demands are placed on our time. Many of these steps are ones which I realized I had forgotten, thrown aside, in my urgency to reach the next quarter's goals. Once I reintroduced them, took them, saw their immediate impact, read the reports that showed their bottomline impact, saw the numbers of smiles and laughs grow along with our revenues and cash-flows, then I realized we had a strategy and package of tactics that would carry us through all the changes in our industry facing us. They did. Enjoy them. Take them. Enjoy their results. Let's create engaging workplaces that allow us to bring smiles back to our day.
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