You’re Doing Employee Recognition Wrong (Here’s How to Do It Right)

You’re Doing Employee Recognition Wrong (Here’s How to Do It Right)

As human beings, we need attention and interaction. This is true for even the most introverted person out there.

Everyone deserves to be valued and appreciated, both in their personal life and in the workplace. Unfortunately, recognition in the workplace is a rarity. This can be especially true if you work in a large company. However, just because it’s common to neglect/forget to recognize employees for their work, doesn’t mean it’s right.

Employees need to have varying forms or encouragement and recognition to maintain their effectiveness. If they feel like they aren’t being recognized for their hard work, what motivation do they have to continue working at a high level?

If you are in a leadership position (or any position), blaze the trail for an improved employee recognition plan. Below are some tips on how to do employee recognition the right way.  


If you are part of a company that doesn’t have any sort of recognition plan, realize the egregious errors of your ways, and start one! Starting a program isn’t too difficult, and will do wonders to employee satisfaction. Don’t worry about coming up with an intricate plan; the important thing is that something is in place.


Many companies do some sort of employee-of-the-month program with a cash bonus attached. This is a fine plan, but it’s not the best. All too often, programs like this feel automated and lack the human touch. It can become more of a “taking turns” type of thing, rather than an actual recognition of a great performance. An alternative method involves a little more effort and less planning. Just because someone goes above and beyond, doesn’t mean you have to wait and recognize them for their achievement at the employee-of-the-month ceremony. Take some initiative and thank them on the spot. Maybe give them a bonus, money or otherwise, and let them know you appreciate their hard work. Don’t wait and give credit where it’s due.  

Money Isn’t Everything

Money is a great motivator, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s the only motivator. Be creative with how you recognize employees. Cash is an easy route, but take the road less traveled and come up with a creative reward. This could be in the form of a day off, or a team activity. Try and mix things up and avoid falling into mundane, robotic recognition rewards and ceremonies.

One-On-One Meetings

Having one-on-one time regularly with your employees can be useful in more ways than one. It’s important to have these meetings so you know what is going on with your employees, which can be accomplished with tools like performance management software. Are they struggling? Do they need help with anything? This one-on-one time can also be used to thank employees for their hard work. Some people may feel uncomfortable being recognized in front of a group. This doesn’t mean they don’t want to be thanked. Remember, everyone needs to feel appreciated. Taking the time to do this will ensure your employees are happy, which will in turn, increase their productivity.