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As necessary as it is, employee recognition is a subject that most human resource feel anxious about.

Tons of time, money, and energy get poured into recognition efforts with little real ROI. Employees are still feeling underappreciated, and many executives are at a loss for how to remedy the problem at hand. Perhaps talent professionals are overthinking it, replacing time spent strategizing for an expensive, showy reward that isn’t going to resonate long term.


Focusing on what employee recognition actually is will save precious resources, and face. Think of it as a gesture that acknowledges hard work and a job well done. Don’t worry about assigning a specific monetary value, or having the right people aware that you have gone through the trouble acknowledge an employee.



For any industry or level, the act of employee recognition should always include the following parameters:

INDIVIDUALIZED
Because the personality and working style of every employee differs, the way in which management shows gratitude must also differ. For example, more reserved employees might prefer one-on-one recognition to avoid making a fuss, while outgoing employees might prefer public recognition. In order to avoid a mix up, take a moment to share your own preferences while asking theirs. Being direct in your communications is the only way to avoid the acknowledgement falling flat.

 
REGULAR
Whether through actual rewards or mere recognition, appreciation should be a constant, yet natural, part of your culture. Employees often use this recognition to gauge their personal progress and determine whether they are completing their tasks properly and efficiently. Without that recognition, workers either wonder where they have failed and could become disengaged. This constant stream of recognition should consist of both formal and informal modes, so as to ensure that the employee feels appreciated.

TIMELY
Often, management is guilty of waiting until it is too late to recognition an employee for a job well done. Rather than allowing the window of opportunity to pass, recognize quality of performance within a reasonable amount of time. The timelier the praise (or constructive criticism), the more effective and constructive it is. Employees are more likely to remember the details of the project, the way in which they behaved throughout the projects, and the way they felt following its completion. The association between these behaviors and the manager’s praise will be stronger, and they will have appreciated the recognition that much more.


How do you recognize your employees for a job well done?

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