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In any social setting, a thank-you can go a long way. In the workplace, letting employees know they’re appreciated will help build morale and increase productivity.

Managers are quick to inform employees when they’ve made a mistake, but too few companies reward their workers for a job well done.

Employee recognition enables the employer to build employee relations, increases morale, encourages others to do a good job and improves employee performance. In a survey by Glassdoor, more than half of the employees said they would remain in their jobs longer if their boss showed more appreciation.

Still, some managers are resistant to providing employee recognition. Employers have plenty of reasons to be resistant to this, including not having time, not knowing how best to recognize the employee, believing it isn’t part of their job, and expecting the company to have a recognition program for them to use.

Recognition is important

I believe it’s important to recognize your employees for exceptional work.  A company’s leadership should be able to allay managers’ concerns by implementing and leveraging a good recognition program.

When I’m advising my clients on employee recognition, I turn to “1501 Ways to Reward Employees,” by Bob Nelson, Ph.D., president of Nelson Motivation Inc., for ideas to share with them. The book was published in 2012. Nelson created Employee Appreciation Day, which falls on the first Friday in March, in his book, “1001 Ways to Reward Employees,” which was published in 1994.

In a survey of managers and their employees at 34 organizations that was conducted from September 1999 to June 2020, Nelson found that 90.5 percent of managers believed that recognizing employees helped employers better motivate them. And 84.4 percent of the managers surveyed believed that providing nonmonetary recognition to employees when they did a good job had a positive effect on their performance.

It’s important to have a recognition plan in place that has a measurable component to meet your metrics and is manageable. Before you establish a program, think about which principles you want to reinforce and why you are recognizing employees. Prepare a document with this framework and build on a program from there.

Types of recognition

Recognition can take many forms, including:

  • A monetary reward.
  • An improvement in work-life balance.
  • Taking employees to lunch.
  • Providing treats.
  • Doing something green.
  • Planning something that is important to the employee, such as charity work or community service.

New trends in employee appreciation are peer-to-peer recognition and nontraditional incentives, such as giving the worker a free chair massage, free makeover or free lessons in something they would like to learn.

Remember to match the reward with the achievement and to match the reward with your budget.

When it comes to praise, there are several guiding principles. Be sure the praise is:

  • Timely
  • Specific
  • Sincere
  • Personal
  • Positive
  • Proactive

The praise can be given in person, in writing, electronically or publicly. Recognition can be formal, informal or day-to-day.

Bad for morale

Some business leaders caution that programs recognizing an employee of the week, month or year can be bad for morale, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The morale of employees who don’t make the cut or aren’t even considered will suffer. Other employers recommend recognizing teams instead of individuals. A strategy expert told SHRM it is better to recognize employees for good performance on a daily basis because it will lead to a workforce that feels valued.

In short, happy workers do a good job. Companies should promote a culture of appreciation. If employee recognition isn’t valued at the top, it won’t be valued by employees.

If you would like advice on employee appreciation or how to establish a program recognizing your employees’ achievements, just ask. I’m here to help at melody@melodybeachconsulting.com.

50+ Job Seekers workshops

The 50+ Job Seekers Networking Group’s workshops and bilingual workshops are free and virtual on Zoom.

The next workshops are:

  • Thursday, June 9, 11 a.m. to noon: Savvy Seeker Series: Healing through Music with Stephen B. Martin, who started out as a folk singer in the mid-1960s. He was a member of the band Orpheus, which recorded 14 of his compositions. He relocated to San Francisco in 1973 and worked as a music therapist for Mission Mental Health Services. Register in advance at https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEldO6gqTMuH92FvkYrbhIB4z5ToEyLMSHW
  • Tuesday, June 14, 10 a.m. to noon: Teamwork/Functional Teams interactive workshop.
  • Thursday, June 16, 2 to 4 p.m.: Job Search Jeopardy! Teams of three or four will compete in “Jeopardy!” Each member of the winning team will receive a free, 30-minute coaching session. Networking will follow the game. Register in advance at https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAuduusrDsqH9DwJWculImkiBPEerP3Rrf1.
  • Thursday, June 23, 11 a.m. to noon: Savvy Seeker Series: MRC Services with Julie Proud Ray, area director of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission’s Braintree office, and Amanda D’Alessio, Job Placement Specialist/Qualified Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor at MRC. Register in advance at https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIvce2upz4qHNTglSnifS4Mj84fgpXLNoR4.
  • Tuesday, June 28, 10 a.m. to noon: Job Success & Leadership interactive workshop.
  • Thursday, June 30, 11 a.m. to noon: Savvy Seeker Series: Franchising with Harris Gubin, a franchise subject matter expert. Gubin will help you explore the possibility of franchising as a possible next chapter in your life to gain the autonomy, financial stability and flexibility to do the things you’re passionate about.

Use this link for programs that don’t have registration details: https://zoom.us/j/97530553439?pwd=cW1lamFwL3o4RmVORnhMcW9zQXljdz09.

The interactive bilingual workshops meet from 10 a.m. to noon Wednesdays. The June workshops are:

  • June 15: Teamwork & Difficult People
  • June 29: Toolbox – What’s Missing?

Pre-registration for first-time participants and advance registration is at https://50plusjobseekers.org/outreach/registration/.

The virtual doors open 15 minutes before each program starts. If you have questions, email us at 50plusjobseekersadmin@mcoaonline.com.

How to contact me

You can reach me by downloading my digital business card by texting HRPRO to 21000 or emailing me at melody@melodybeachconsulting.com.

AFFILIATED ORGANIZATIONS

Melody L. Beach Consulting Group
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Northeast Human Resources Association (NEHRA)
Northeast Human Resources Association (NEHRA)
Northeast Human Resources Association (NEHRA)
Webster Dudley Business Alliance (WDBA)
Webster Dudley Business Alliance (WDBA)
AARP (American Association of Retired Persons)
PARWCC The Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches Woman in Business (WIB)
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
BNI Referral Champions Worcester Chapter
Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM)
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
50+ Job Seekers
Massachusetts Councils on Aging (MCOA)
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
Human Resources Management Association (HRMA) of Central Massachusetts
Women's Information Network (WIN)
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
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Melody L. Beach Consulting Group, Human Resources, Southbridge, MA