Miscellaneous articles on staff recognition

Experts identify keys to successful staff recognition

How important is staff recognition to an organization’s success? Had this question been asked of the more than 200 recognition professionals who gathered in Dallas in the spring, the answer would have been "Very!" They were there for the 6th annual Recognition Sharing Conference of the National Association for Employee Recognition (www.recognition.org).

While there, we heard from some of the leading names in the world of staff recognition. Keynote presentations were made by Barbara Glanz (the author of Handle with CARE: Motivating and Retaining Employees), Aubrey Daniels (Bringing Out the Best in People) and Chester Elton (Managing with Carrots). While he was not a keynoter, Bob Nelson (1001 Ways to Reward Employees) was there to join a panel discussion and be available in the hallways to speak with other attendees.

Several themes emerged from the main stage and concurrent sessions that illustrate what makes staff recognition so effective in successful organizations:

  • Recognition is a strategic tool organizations can use to let staff know that what they do is important and valued. Organizations that show appreciation to their employees have lower turnover and staff that is more productive and more focused on serving customers.
  • Commitment from the top is essential to implementing a successful recognition program. This commitment ensures the continuation of the program and adequate funding. A committed CEO or business owner who models recognition conveys to supervisors that they also should watch for opportunities to recognize staff.
  • When developing a recognition program involve those who will be effected by the program . . . front-line staff and managers.
  • To ensure the success of a recognition program, prepare people to recognize others with training and the necessary resources.
  • Recognition must be congruent with the organization’s culture. If an organization is managed by fear or managers never stop to talk with employees, no combination of certificates, lunches, gifts or letters of thanks is going to cut it. If it inconsistent with the culture, even the best organized recognition program is doomed to fail.
  • Criteria for what will be recognized should be clear and consistent across the organization. Employees must know what they are striving for.
  • Recognition should not be thought of as tokens or events. These are only vehicles to convey appreciation that grows from the relationships of the people working for the organization. Dr. Daniels stated that 85% of front-line employees leave jobs because there is someone they don’t get along with . . . usually their manager.

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