When to Give the Right Kind of Recognition

Leaders, managers, and peers alike, can all get confused as to when to use their various recognition programs that they might have online.

This will be a quick guide to assist people with when to give the right kind of recognition according to the programs that you have.

There are some guiding principles I want you to keep in mind that should help you think about and narrow down what you should do:

  1. Level of Impact. This refers to the behavior, effort or action demonstrated and whether they would be perceived as being a low, medium or high impact on performance.
  2. Frequency of Occurrence. You can examine the nature of the behavior and consider if this was a one-off action, and isolated in occurrence, or whether this is an oft-repeated or frequent behavior.
  3. Number of People Affected. The employee’s action may only affect one person or may have affected many people by what they did.

Low Impact Action + Isolated Occurrence + Low # of People Affected

Let’s take the scenario where an employee carries out a low impact action that is a first time observation, which only affects one or two people.

This type of action would likely only warrant expressing recognition and appreciation via your program that uses e-Cards or by making a post on the newsfeed of a social recognition program.

Some recognition programs are using thematic social badges such as for demonstrating corporate values or specific business goals.

All of these types of recognition programs can be used without having to attach a gift or award to because you don’t have to give a reward when you recognize people.

High Impact Action + Consistent Occurrence + High # of People Affected

In contrast, an individual employee or team may have made a major achievement or completed a project that had a significant impact on the company.

They likely demonstrated consistent effort and hard work on this project over a period of time. And the number of people affected was significant – considering the improved processes developed that will help internal staff and the profitability projected because of the benefits to current and future customers.

For these kinds of actions, you would likely accompany any form of sincere expression of acknowledgment with a reward through a recognition program that permits giving points, monetary rewards or gifts.

Be mindful that some high impact actions may only be a one-time occurrence so you will have to use your best judgment on those ones.

Whenever you give people a reward don’t treat it as just a transaction. Always add some meaningful words of appreciation when presenting in person along with a written note or electronic message to reinforce the recognition.

Hopefully, this will give some structure when considering when to use the right recognition message for specific kinds of actions.

Reflective Question: What guidance do you presently give individuals that help them decide on the right kind of recognition to give?

Roy is no longer writing new content for this site (he has retired!), but you can subscribe to Engage2Excel’s blog as Engage2Excel will be taking Roy’s place writing about similar topics on employee recognition and retention, leadership and strategy.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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