Don't Thank Me. Thank Them


As we all know it is very important to get recognized for the hard work we do. Just think about it, you went out of your way during the weekend to make a sale, giving up valuable time you could have spent with the family or friends, and you did not even get simple "great work meeting quota," or "good job, keep it up." Or maybe you submitted a report to your boss that took you a whole week, month or even a year to complete, and your boss can't even say "thanks for the great work, I knew we could count on you. Because of your hard work and persistence, (company) can now save $ xx,xxx". 

It is very important to recognize your employees or members of an organization whenever he/she does something in accordance with your company's goals or tasks assigned to them. When employees do not get recognized for their hard work, even for the littlest things, they will eventually feel that they are being used as opposed to being truly valued for who they are. When reading this, please take the time to put yourself in your employee's shoes, and think about how it feels if you were not recognized for your hard work. Now that you are aware of praising your employees, try to remember the last time you were recognized for your hard work.
These ideas are intended for the small things they do on the job, not for significant achievements which will require a lot more than just a thank you.

What is Recognition

Recognition signifies that someone notices and cares. It produces leaders and role models which encourages' others to perform the same way and want to be recognized in front of others. This will make the employee strive to work harder and expect to be recognized as well.

What to Thank?

You recognize your employees for the small things they do on the job, such as making their first sale, getting a report in on time, helping other team members out. Other examples would be meeting basic goals but not necessarily exceeding them. At the end, you are the determinant of what is a small task to thank and praise compared to an outstanding objective.

What You Can Do To Recognize?

These are suggestions for the small things your employees do at work.Try not to overuse the same praising techniques, switch it up a bit. The only thing that matters is that you praise him/her/them and recognize him/her/ them in front of others and more frequently. You may not think it helps, but it truly does. Here are some examples below.

  • Hand written note with their name and your signature on it. It means something more when people take the time to write their name on a piece of paper and say thanks, especially from the higher ups. Get away from e-mail and the norm
  • Post their picture on the wall or through SM where it's visible to others as the "Employee of the Month" and explain what they did
  • Be Specific as to what they did/do when praising
  • Ring a loud bell or recognize the individual/s on the PA system in the office
  • A trophy being passed down from employee to employee for their work. Employees can vote on who is to get the trophy next and why
  • A free lunch
  • Hand out "scratch-off" cards on the spot
  • Thank you note sent to family for support
  • Take the bosses' parking spot for a day
  • Flowers
  • Gift cards
  • Movie/event tickets
  • University of _______ game tickets
  • Personal phone calls thanking them, if you don't do it much already. Don't give out all your jelly beans
  • A Cake
  • Increased territory/leads
  • One day of shoeshine
  • Balloon/s
  • A free day/week/month gym membership
  • A Book
  • Print out an award on paper, and frame it
  • Write and publish a personal ad or publicity article in the paper or company publication that praises them for their work

What are you Praising?

Here is what you should say when recognizing your performers in front of others. The key things to remember are to be specific as to what they did, praise immediately if not within the week, and do it on a regular basis. They need to understand why they received the awards and how it aligns with the company's goals.

  • What was the task or assignment?
  • What did they do to solve or complete it?
  • How did that action help the company achieve its goals or mission?

Know Your People First?
It is very important to get to know your employees, because once you know what they like, you can reward them with it when they align themselves with company goals. It may take time to figure out what they like and what matters to each individual, but make it a goal to look beyond the workplace such as their hobbies, family, likes, and dislikes. Get to know the whole person and jot it down to remember later on.

How Often You Should Recognize?

If you catch them doing something good, do it on the spot. If you cannot, jot it down and recognize them at the weekly meeting. Recognize each employee at the end of each week, if you have weekly meetings, recognize them at the daily meetings.

Who Should Recognize?

When recognizing the employee, make sure that the praising comes directly from the supervisor above them. Upper management could praise, but I would suggest saving that for a more exceptional accomplishment.

Where to Recognize?
You must recognize and reward employees in an open and publicized way. Recognition will lose much of its value and impact if not made public. Think about how a high school or college sports' team would feel if no one knew they just won a national title. All the hard work it took them to do, the hot summer days, only to get rushed on the bus and sent back home without a crowd to see them get the trophy.

What Should Happen?

If you do decide to recognize and praise more often, see what happens. I would assume there would be more respect, increased productivity, happier workers, and increased bottom line.

How Much Should I Spend to Recognize?

Recognizing each employee with a reward can add up costs, but think long term and it will be a great investment. Spend at least $100-200 per employee per year for the small praises, depending on how many employees you have. You can divide the $100 into 4 and give them something of value in $25 or however you wish.

What If I Do Not Have Time to Catch Them Doing Something Good?

Encourage coworkers to praise others at work, because it can get difficult to catch everyone doing something good. Have a box where employees can nominate a coworker for their hard work, then recognize them at the next weekly meeting when you check the box for example.

1. When recognizing others, never remind the person about the bad thing(s) they've done, even though it may be in a joking way. Focus on the good.

2. Remember to always say the employee(s) first name when greeting or praising, because it shows that you care.
3. If a person completes a small task and gets let's say a $10.00 gift card, it would not be appropriate to give a $10.00 gift card to the employee who just made one of the biggest sales or completed one of the longest projects. This will definitely not motivate your employee(s) to do an outstanding job the next time around.

4. Remember, if you hold a position of high status such as CEO, you have what is called authority. Authority gives you a status of power. Knowing this principle, do not praise too much as a CEO/Owner because it just won't have the same effect when doing regularly. Recognition should come directly from the employees' supervisor above mainly. Any outstanding work done should bring in the CEO/Owner. Be creative.

5. Employees taking on assignments always need to know how well they are doing. Give each individual feedback as to how they are doing, where they stand as an individual or team and what they need to do to get it done. Help them help you. Without feedback, he/she does not know if they are accomplishing their goal(s), which can diminish their efforts and motivation.

Carrot Principle

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The best investment you can make is in yourself. The more you learn, the more you earn. - Warren Buffet
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