Employee Recognition: Offer a Seat Instead of a Plaque

Linda Dulye's picture
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AchievementLast month we wrote about how today's brutal economic environment is causing workers to look ahead to a more vibrant job market and the prospect of a new job.

Some overworked and under-appreciated employees will certainly test the waters once the market warms but it doesn't have to be a mass exodus.

In fact, we think leaders can help build some loyalty — and boost retention — among team members by focusing on recognizing employee recognition.

Here's an excerpt of an article we contributed to Communication World, the monthly publication of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). The article titled "It's the Little Things that Managers Do That Count Big in Employee Recognition" will appear in the July issue of CW.

Engage star talent to help the organization find a better way of working together or serving customers. Invite them to a senior level meeting and ask for their ideas and insights about important operational or organizational issues. A successful tactic that we've promoted with senior managers is for them to commission an employee action team to solve a critical issue surfaced by an employee or customer survey.

Recognition through this channel occurs in many ways. The employee is personally selected by senior manager for this special assignment. The assignment includes on-the-job training in disciplined problem solving, as well as direct access and open communication with senior management. Investment in personal and professional development is a significant act of recognition.

Action teams that form a solid working relationship with management will take ownership of the challenge that they've been chartered to solve. Members will go above and beyond in their discretionary work effort to deliver meaningful solutions that they want to help introduce and implement in the workplace. This engagement factor – which springs from an act of recognition – absolutely influences retention.

As Abraham Maslow demonstrated in his legendary Hierarchy of Needs theory, recognition is a basic human need. For many on the job, it's been a long drought. Engage managers now to do the little things that send signals to associates that they matter in a big way.

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