The Most Impactful Employee Recognition and Its Free

Thank You Note

Recognizing employees for a job well done is a key to being a great manager. Positive recognition brings out the best in people and it can be equally rewarding for the manager doing the recognizing. “It is better to give than receive”. In the case of employee recognition, giving is also receiving. By recognizing your employees for their excellent work you send a very positive message that in turn motivates your employees to work even harder. In a world where we focus so much attention on what is wrong, catching people doing something right and recognizing them for it stands out and can have far reaching positive repercussions. Working in a culture that provides timely feedback, both good and bad leads to superior overall performance.

The challenge that many manager face is how to recognize their employees for a job well done when budgets are tight and business priorities limit their time. There are thousands of cheap and easy ways to recognize employees for a job well done. A public thank you at a team meeting is a simple way. The simple act of recognizing someone in front of their peers not only makes them feel good, but can inspire others to work harder too. Remember the corollary, to praise in public is to punish in private. Never call out an employee for poor performance in a public setting. Spot bonuses and other programs are offered in many large organizations, but there is one form of recognition that is rarely used, but that I have found to be the most impactful.

Consider the employee who was recognized for their hard work with a public thank you at a meeting. They feel great for the rest of the day. Once they return home from work their significant other will ask the typical “How was your day?” question. Their response with enthusiasm will be to tell about how their boss recognized them for their hard work. The spouse or significant other will be proud of their mate and then ask when that recognition will turn into a promotion or more money. Sound familiar?

Now imagine if the boss instead of just recognizing the employee at the meeting took the time to seek out the spouse or significant others email address or just used the home address and wrote a personal note or email to them thanking them for supporting their spouse and saying how fortunate the organization is to have such a dedicated employee on the team.

A simple note from a boss, not to the employee but to his or her significant other is a much more powerful form of recognition.

The spouse or significant other feels proud of their mate and holds the boss in much higher regard for having sought them out to share the positive feedback. The employee learns from their spouse or significant other that their boss is pleased with their performance and has shared that information with a loved one. Rather than coming home to “How was your day”, they come home to “You wouldn’t believe who I heard from today…”

Next time one of your employees deserves recognition try it. You will be amazed at the good will it builds and the way that it motivates your employee to perform at his or her best. A gift card for a dinner or other monetary recognition can be included although it really isn’t necessary.

The point is that we all seek recognition and positive feedback at work, but having that recognition at home is even more powerful.