Motivation Through Recognition: Does it Work?

 

As an employer, you may frequently find yourself struggling with devising ways to keep your employees motivated. It is a proven fact that higher levels of motivation lead to more effective, efficient, and productive employees, who naturally benefit the company itself, but how can you achieve the motivational levels you need to reach your company's business goals?

Employers often come up with a variety of ideas to promote an atmosphere of team spirit, motivation, and a positive work environment. Some of these ideas include things like company picnics and outings, games and contests between departments, award ceremonies for achievements, and recognition programs such as "employee of the month." Different types of strategies can achieve different results, but one of the easiest and least expensive ways to motivate your employees is through recognition.

Appreciation
How often do you find yourself at the end of the workday engaged in a short exchange with an employee, where you thank them for their efforts that day and let them know you appreciate their work? Do you ever single out a noteworthy employee in a staff meeting and mention their work ethic, outstanding efforts, or contributions to the company's success? Are you in the habit of publicly recognizing and praising the job that a particular department's team is going and that they are an excellent asset for the company?

Using activities like company picnics and inter-departmental competitions can provide motivation for your staff, but it will be short-lived. More often than not, you can inspire a higher level of motivation with a simple "thank you for your efforts today" than any number of plaques and glass awards on the wall are able to accomplish. Most people want to feel inspired and motivated at their jobs, and knowing that their management team recognizes their efforts and is grateful for what they contribute is an excellent way to provide that inspiration and motivation.

Some employers may be hesitant to acknowledge that they see and appreciate an employee's efforts, because they feel that employee may develop the mindset that they can start "coasting along" in their position now that the boss thinks they are doing a great job. While this can prove true in some situations, more often than not it can also have the opposite effect. The employee will continue to perform at a high level because they want to demonstrate to their employer that they are worthy of the praise and recognition.

Recognition
Motivation through recognition can and does work. It will provide your company with many benefits and advantages, some of which cannot be measured on a tangible scale. Recognition can be an incredibly powerful tool to foster a close-knit team environment, encourage employees to achieve high levels of productivity, increase your employee retention rates, and reduce incidental expenses relating to inattentiveness to job duties that result in dissatisfied customers, safety issues, or on-the-job downtime.

Recognizing your employees for the work they do also costs you nothing at all other than your time and effort, and if they are working that hard for you, surely you can demonstrate your appreciation in ways that let them know you are aware of their efforts. You can start small - a handshake and a "thank you" at the end of the day, or you can find more elaborate ways to recognize various employees for their contributions to the company's success. No matter how you choose to do it, once you've begun a program of employee recognition, you will see that it does make a difference in many different ways.