Employee Recognition Works

Richard Arnold

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According to Robert Levering, coauthor of Fortune’s annual “100 Best Companies to Work for in America”, it is not by luck or chance that the best companies to work for are the result of the attitudes and actions of management. The management at these companies sincerely believes that the employees are the ones who are primarily responsible for the success (or failure) of the business.

And Mr. Levering should know. He has spent the last 25 years writing about workplaces, specifically, great workplaces. He has found that regardless of the industry, size, age, or location of the companies he has studied, that employees of these terrific workplaces invariably talk about how they feel treated as individuals, that they feel respected; that they feel management recognizes their contributions to the organization. To Mr. Levering, it is clear (and I agree) that recognition, in all its forms, strongly enhances morale and productivity in the workplace.

Most organizations realize that recognition is important. It is estimated that U. S.companies spend about $18 billion annually on recognition and incentives. Eighty-six percent of organizations have some kind of recognition program in place, and yet most employees still feel inadequately recognized. Why is it that, with all the money spent and all the programs in place, employees still don’t feel recognized?

Many managers and supervisors will argue that they don’t have time to make anyone’s day; they are too busy making sure the work gets done. In terms of priorities, recognition typically comes dead last. While this may be understandable, it is a big mistake. Management is easier when recognition is a priority.

Employees crave meaningful recognition. When they talk about the recognition they receive, they’re talking about how valued they feel. Focus on the essence of what recognition is. Look at recognition in the bigger context and the long term. It’s about building relationships and taking a personal, genuine interest in people and their preferences. So long as you do that and continue to look for ways to refine the recognition that you offer, employees will feel recognized. That, in turn, will improve moral, productivity, and profitability – and everybody wins.

Start by habitually sending your employees greeting cards. Recognize birthdays, the spouse's birthday, maybe even the employees’ children's birthdays. The employee's employment anniversary - tell them how much they are appreciated. Commend a job well-done - send a note of thanks. When employees see that you took the time to send a card and personally communicate with them, they will know they are recognized by you. Become someone who is remembered as one who remembers. And these days, online technology makes sending cards a snap. Check out this online greeting card service that allows you to pick cards, write personal messages in your handwriting with your signature, then stuffs, puts a real stamp on the envelop, and mails it for you right from your computer.

Richard Arnold is the owner of Key Concept Services, Inc. , a marketing and business communications firm. For over 15 years, KCS has been helping small and medium sized businesses get their “key" message out - externally to clients and internally to employees. The “key" to business success is good communication. When you communicate properly, you connect. When you connect, you communicate. Richard is also a big believer in the Law of Attraction and has a Blog on this subject at http://sendoutcards.wordpress.com


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