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5 Tips for Effective Employee Recognition

Research shows nearly four out of five managers believe that motivating employees is one of the primary duties of their roles as leaders; nearly two-thirds say it is becoming more difficult to do. Three out of four also say they must change their approaches to how they motivate their employees. With a variety of ways to motivate employees, it is important to effective recognize their successes with a method that is effective and beneficial to an organizations overall performance.


Recognition That Works 

87 percent of organizations stated that their recognition programs are geared toward acknowledging tenure. Clearly, recognition for tenure not only eliminates performance, it turns success in an organization into something for which one waits, rather than something to be achieved.

Furthermore, many believe that today’s workforce should expect to live a life of learning, perhaps with three or more careers. A large number of highly skilled, vastly experienced — “tenured” — workers lost their jobs and saturate the hiring pool. Tenure-based recognition would slight those employees who may have decades of education and experience and these individuals may end up choosing to work for other organizations, possibly even competitors.

Having a recognition program can have a positive impact on voluntary turnover rate and the overall performance and welfare of a business.

Here are some simple tips organizations can use to target their recognition programs effectively:


1.     Knowing the Employees

Effective leaders — whether corporate officers, lower-level managers or football coaches — should know each person that works under their lead. This includes knowing what types of recognition will best motivate each staff member.

Does the person find it pleasant to be cheered on in the company meeting, or would he or she find it embarrassing or awkward? Perhaps, a one-on-one presentation would be more fitting; each employee has his or her own personality and it is up to the manager to figure out each one.


2.     Recognize Accomplishments Often

How many people feel over-appreciated by their employers? There probably are not a lot people dealing with that problem at work. They should be.

To a leader, the staff of an organization should be looked upon as its top asset — that which truly sets a workplace apart from its competitors. Their work deserves to be recognized. In fact, leadership should create a culture of recognition in which all managers and staff are supported and encouraged to recognize each other. Sometimes the most meaningful recognition can come from peers, rather than management.


3.     Meaningfully Recognize Staff Achievements

Saying “good job” to an employee who deserves it is pleasant but it does not recognize what the employee achieved that was so “good.” Nonspecific praise like this just seems like the manager does not really care about the employee’s efforts and it also wastes a motivational moment to teach other employees how they, too, can emulate the actions of the successful employee and receive equal recognition.

Recognition should be specific. More effective praises for successful employees might be the presentation of a plaque award or crystal paperweight that has the employee’s name and accomplishment engraved into it.


4.     Trust Is Recognition

People have impressionable senses of self-esteem. If leadership believes in its employees, they will, too, and individuals will be more motivated to succeed based on wanting to maintain that trust. Managers need to show their trust to enhance an employee’s confidence in their abilities.


For example, granting autonomy and acting as an encourager, rather than controlling the project gives room for employees to take ownership of projects and decide how best to finish them.


Not only should leaders allow employees the space to find their own success, but management must also accept when employees fail. Professional growth occurs in both success and failure.


Recognition awards or custom banners with messages of encouragement can be a whole lot more effective motivation than micromanaging employees and controlling all aspects of a project.


5.     It Doesn’t Need to be Expensive

Many leaders make the mistake of believing that recognition has to include cash rewards for it to be motivational for an organization’s employees. Actually, cash rewards can backfire because they attach a numbered value to an employee’s efforts which can become complicated when future projects require more work but have lesser dollar amounts attached.


People wish to be appreciated, not treated like numbers. When an employee makes an extra effort to help the team or the organization, that employee will respond much more positively when the specific effort is recognized.



A more thoughtful recognition gift than money might be an engraved pen, a plaque or acrylic award or other custom corporate award. These types of recognition permanently tie the employee’s success to the successful project and reinforce the connection between the employee’s personal interests and those of the organization.


EDCO Awards and Specialties can be the solution to inspire and acknowledge successful employees.. Since 1969, EDCO has provided quality motivation and recognition tools for any occasion. From sports trophies, to corporate awards and promotional items, EDCO carries all types of awards for any organization’s corporate needs. EDCO’s products are fully displayed on its website and can be customized and shipped in a week or less in most cases.