The Importance of Employee Recognition

To be really effective in your job, you need to know why and how to praise others for their good work. You need to know the importance of employee recognition.

Employee recognition is the timely, informal or formal acknowledgement of a person’s or team’s behavior, effort or business result that supports the organization’s goals and values, and which has clearly been beyond normal expectations. To be fully successful in the workplace at any level, you need to understand the psychology of praising others for their good work, to apply the principles of employee recognition yourself and to encourage others to initiate it in their working relationships.

Appreciation is a fundamental human need. Employees respond to appreciation expressed through recognition of their good work because it confirms their work is valued by others. When employees and their work are valued, their satisfaction and productivity rises, and they are motivated to maintain or improve their good work. Gallup studies show employee recognition is the key factor influencing employee engagement, and therefore organizational performance.

Employee recognition is the principle of social proof in action, a term pioneered by social psychology professor Robert Cialdini. He defined the principle in this way: “We view a behavior as correct in a given situation to the degree that we see others performing it.” Employee recognition embodies the principle by showing to others in a tangible way that a person’s efforts have been outstanding.

The Research

Yet Gallup analysis in 2016 found only 1 in 3 US workers strongly agreed they had received recognition or praise for doing good work in the past 7 days. Gallup consultants recommend that recognition should be given weekly in broad terms to those who deserve it – and in a timely way so the employee knows the significance of their recent achievement and to reinforce company values.

Two Aspects to Employee Recognition

  1. The first aspect is to actually see, identify or realize an opportunity to praise someone. If you are not in a receptive frame of mind you can easily pass over many such opportunities. This happens all too frequently.
  2. The other aspect is, of course, the physical act of doing something to acknowledge and praise people for their good work.

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