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Understanding Employee Recognition

Jun 10, 2015

Written by: John O'Brien
(View Author Bio)

Understanding Employee Recognition

Understanding the multifaceted character of recognition is a vital first step toward integrating it into your organization — and enjoying its profound effect on your employees, customers and bottom line for years to come.

Think about it - employee recognition is a mindset and anyone can develop it. It just takes thought and focus. As a manager, you first need to determine what’s worthy of recognition at your organization.

Ask yourself:
• Which behaviors should be recognized?
• How do these behaviors reflect and advance our company’s mission and values?
• How can I communicate these behaviors to my team?

Communicate the why.

Linking desired behaviors to your company’s mission and values is vital to the development of a company-wide recognition mindset. When you share concrete reasons for recognizing an employee, you elevate its significance and eliminate any potential “popularity contest” perceptions. You want everyone to see how specific behaviors can have an impact on a larger scale and to really understand how they can make a difference. When this happens, your employees will set their minds to earning recognition for all the right reasons.

Make it a habit.
The more often you recognize your employees, the quicker it will become second nature to you. Put the word “recognize” on your calendar every week and see how it becomes a natural part of your routine. When your days get busy, recognition can easily migrate to the back burner. An employee recognition mindset won't allow that to happen. 

Make it personal.
A recent BI WORLDWIDE engagement study showed that employees who were “confident that their good work would be recognized” strongly agree that they will go to great lengths for customers. And those who had received “incredible” recognition in their job felt a strong obligation to “work as hard as I can for my company.” Good stuff, right? Consistent and incredible recognition lead to increased employee effort and customer satisfaction. You know what it means to be consistent. But what does “incredible” recognition really mean?
Big or small, recognition is incredible when it’s personal.
As a manager, this means you need to do your homework. Learn the names and job functions of each team member. Even better, spend time learning firsthand about each individual’s interests, strengths, challenges and aspirations. And if this isn’t possible, make sure it’s on the to-do list of all of your managers.

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John O'Brien

Vice President
Employee Performance Group

As Vice President of BI WORLDWIDE’s Employee Performance Group, John O’Brien’s primary focus is to develop employee engagement strategies and solutions that change the behaviors of employees to align with customers’ business objectives. An expert in Employee Recognition Strategy, he educates HR professionals around the world on how to best engage their employees through employee engagement strategies, solutions and best practices.