Let us admit it: Recognition is at the core of human nature. It is a craving in many. But for this quality, we would, in most likeliness, not have seen the talents of many artists blossom. Yes, we all need money, but for many, there is a higher need than what money can buy. It is the luxury of being appreciated for the work we do. This is true even of employees in an organization.
Thumb rules for recognizing good work
Agreed, an employer-employee set-up is purely commercial. Many organizations’ management may think: We are paying the guys to do a job. They had better do it and get lost. Well, these words may not be the exact tone of the attitude, but many managers don’t feel the need to compliment a job well done, thinking about employees in a rather condescending manner with a what-else-are-they-here-for attitude. This could lead to the creation of a huge gap in the employee’s perception about the employer.
As we saw; we all need that occasional pat on the back, especially from people that matter, for a neat job. For many of us, there is a lot more to life than just a decent pay. If the manager or employer compliments an employee for a good job, it is more than a great tonic. It can work wonders on the morale. A good word from a manager or colleague, especially a higher-up, is a far greater motivator than money many times.
Praise in public
A word of appreciation is an acknowledgment of something the employee has done well. This means that he or she stretched herself beyond the normal work to do something more than routine. Such a work need not be rewarded with a big gift. A gift is different from a pat. A good word in front of other colleagues is quite gratifying. If the management felt that an employee has done well beyond the ordinary; it can offer rewards in the form of a pay raise. But that would come later usually.
Doesn’t need to be too big
Apart from a good word of appreciation, there are other small ways by which an employee’s good work or effort can be rewarded. Such an employee can be taken out for lunch. Or he could be paid a holiday for himself and his family to relax after all the hard work that went into earning the recognition. These too constitute appreciative acts, and go a long way in creating a positive impact about the organization in the employee.
Element of surprise
Whether it is a word of appreciation or a small reward; there should ideally be the element of surprise. A reward, like a joke or a murder, should never be informed in advance. The thrill of the whole exercise lies in the unexpectedness. How would it be if the manager walked up the employee and asked him to get ready for a movie? Or what if he simply called him to his cabin and handed him a ticket for a holiday for the family? Imagine a situation in which an announcement is made earlier on. This would not only take away the fun of it; worse, it could bring about a sense of dejection for the employee and total embarrassment for the employer if the commitment cannot be honored!
Don’t be vague or insincere
When a word or gesture of appreciation goes out; it has to be very clear about what it is for. When an employee has done something really good, the appreciation has to clearly mention which work of the employee deserved the good words. Making it hypocritical or uncertain dilutes the impact. You know for sure what you are rewarding or appreciating the employee for. What is the point in holding it back? Announce to the rest of the team or the rest of the organization the reason for which the employee is being appreciated.
Let the world know
Also, make sure to detail the ways in which the employee carried out his work to earn the appreciation. This is important from two perspectives: One, it will mean that there is total transparency in the selection process. Two, it will make other employees understand the basis or criteria for which employee are appreciated. It will make them understand that they too can achieve what a colleague of theirs did, because they will now know what is appreciated by management and what is not. Finally, the announcement could also have something of a “consolation” appreciation. There could be others who came close enough, and this is something that should never escape notice.
What role does HR have in making employees feel recognized? Whether to acknowledge good work or not is something that is left to the management; however, HR can facilitate the whole thing. It can bring an employee’s good work to the management’s notice. It can hold meetings between the manager and the employee. It can select gift items if management decides to go ahead and give them as reward.
HR can also follow up with management and make the announcement of the reward at the right time and with the right amount of effect. HR may not be the department that rewards, but it can smooth the whole affair by being there right from the time of assessing the employees for rewards to seeing through the rewards program.
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