Employee recognition – what to avoid

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Employee recognition is integral to maintaining a happy and motivated workforce but managers must be wary of missing the mark, warns one HR expert. Here’s what you should avoid when it comes to making your employees feel appreciated.

Being vague

“A step above doing nothing at all, nonspecific recognition can be just as bad,” says TINYhr’s Sabrina Son. “Rather than just telling people that they’ve done a good job, get into the details of what went well,” she advises. “This brings in a personal element that values people at an individual level.”

Making it about money

Employees are always going to like financial rewards but offering something a little more personal can actually sit just as well, says Son.

“You shouldn’t put a dollar value on every good thing that happens,” she advises. “Try changing things up by letting them go home a few hours early or take them out to lunch; employees appreciate being recognized in ways that make them emotionally fulfilled too.”

Keeping it private

Not all recognition is appropriate to share with a group but if you only acknowledge your employees’ achievements in private then you actually risk undermining the value of it.

“It can make it seem like it’s not worth telling others,” explains Son.

Forcing it

Initiatives that encourage recognition are obviously a good idea but putting a quota on compliments can cheapen the experience and make it more of a chore.

“Being recognized should be a special thing that people feel like they’ve earned, not another task to check off the list,” says Son.

Making it a contest

“While some people thrive with friendly competition thrown into the mix, there are certainly those who dislike the pressure,” says Son. “Pitting people against each other can be counterproductive, as some may look harder for ways to undermine their co-workers than improve themselves, and others may lose motivation altogether in the face of a fight.”

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