Why doesn't your employee recognition program work?

January 17, 2012
Why doesn't your employee recognition program work?

Last summer, the Society for Human Resource Management found that 80 percent of the organizations they surveyed had employee recognition programs. Most of these workplaces commended workers for their years of service, and almost half gave a nod to employees who went above and beyond.

But despite the number of workplaces that have these programs, the same survey found that only 31 percent of employees felt they were properly acknowledged for their work. What's going wrong? Why do employees feel like their bosses are only paying lip service when they hand out awards?

The problem may lie in these common employee-recognition gaffs:

Giving generic praise: Offering platitudes and generalizations about someone's two decades at a company not only shows a lack of effort, but also a lack of respect. Show your employees that you know how they've given to the company.

Waiting until its too late: The rush of a job well done comes right after the project is finished. If you wait days or weeks to mention your admiration for a remarkable quarter in sales, you're telling your employees you haven't noticed.

Diluting the compliments:
Sometimes managers, focused on what's next, give constructive criticism with praise. While we can all do better next time, let your staff enjoy a moment of knowing they contributed in a valuable way. In a separate meeting, you can talk about what he or she can do better next time.

Finally...

Being insincere:
If you dole out compliments without meaning it, chances are your staff knows your true sentiments. You want to engage and retain your employees by showing that they matter. Creating a custom program with thought and consideration can be as easy as contacting us for a custom solution, tailored to your company needs. 

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