Miscellaneous articles on staff recognition

RPI forgot the most important reason to recognize staff

Last fall, just as it was becoming evident that we had entered a recession, Recognition Professionals International e-mailed its members a list of seven reasons to recognize employees.

RPI (formerly known as the National Association for Employee Recognition) is a non-profit association that “[exists] to study, develop and promote systems that enhance employee engagement and performance through employee recognition.” (www.recognition.org)

While all the reasons listed by RPI were valid, I think that one – the most important reason of all to recognize – was missing:

It is the right thing to do!

This is what our parents taught us. They emphasized to us as children the importance of expressing appreciation. They taught us to say “please” and “thank you” when we received a gift from a relative, or when a playmate shared a bag of candies with us. If we forgot, our mother or father would prompt us by asking, “What do you say?”

Our parents taught us to express appreciation when we received gifts or kindnesses, without any expectation of getting something in return. They didn’t justify saying “thank you” by telling us that if we did we would improve the chances our uncle would remember our next birthday, or that next time a friend would share her treat.

Certainly, saying “thank you” was not without its benefits: other gifts that were given and treats were shared. This may have happened because we remembered to say “thank you,” but perhaps it would have happened even if we hadn’t. We’ll never know for sure.

To express appreciation with an expectation of a benefit is like giving a tip at the beginning of the meal and expecting it will improve service. A tip, like genuine recognition, is an expression of appreciation of good service received.

Saying “thank you” in the workplace has benefits as well, including all the reasons on the RPI list. Knowing that all these positive outcomes can come from regularly expressing appreciation is important when building a business case for recognition.

Yet, while it is important to recognize staff for all the reasons identified by RPI, the benefits will be even greater when what motivates us to recognize comes from a deeper source – an underlying belief that saying “thank you” is important just because it is the right thing to do. Period!

Top Seven Reasons to Recognize Employees

1. Reduce turnover
2. Increase profitability
3. Increase productivity
4. Retain top performers
5. Create a positive work environment
6. Elevate customer service, sales and satisfaction
7. Attract a better recruiting pool

Source: Recognition Professionals International, October 29, 2008

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