Posted on May 5, 2014

Employee Recognition: 3 Rules to Live By

You probably know that employee recognition is an important tool for managers to drive productivity, engagement, retention and customer satisfaction within their organizations. But do you know just how important it is?

The number one reason employees leave their jobs is because they “do not feel appreciated,” and 63 percent of employees say they want recognition from their immediate supervisor.

Paycor HR pros Becky Falvey, Lauren Ammon, Lori Haddle and Allison Flynn offer three recognition rules for managers to live by.

It’s not just about money

It’s easy to believe that because of the difficult financial environment in recent years, U.S. workers are motivated primarily by their bottom line. But in fact, base pay and benefits have been shown to have a weaker relationship with an organization’s ability to foster high levels of engagement and motivation compared to nonfinancial incentives, intangible rewards and quality of leadership.

Surprised? Well, here’s something that might shock you even more: 80 percent of employees say their preferred means of recognition is a verbal “thank you.” Considering that two-thirds of the U.S. workforce is unengaged on the job, those two words can make a huge difference!

The choice is yours

The good news about offering recognition is that managers have so many choices, including:

* Taking the employee to lunch
* Offering more of your time, attention and feedback
* Giving the associate a new assignment
* Providing training opportunities
* Scheduling time for the employee to meet with senior leadership
* Removing a barrier to the associate’s best work
* Offering recognition publicly, in front of peers
* Emphasizing team recognition
* Sending handwritten notes
* Encouraging peer-to-peer recognition
* Awarding spontaneous prizes

Whatever method you choose, recognition should be well-rounded, encompassing behaviors, business results and, yes, failures. When you give feedback—both positive and negative—be sincere, be specific, be timely, be positive, focus on strengths and be personal.

Say "T-H-A-N-K-S"

Lastly, here’s a handy mnemonic device to demystify employee recognition:

T: Take time to make it thoughtful.
H: Have specific examples.
A: Align to the individual.
N: Notice results and then some.
K: Keep it simple.
S: Support peer recognition.


Paycor’s suite of HR solutions makes it easier than ever to give recognition and retain your associates. Our human resource management application allows you to track employees’ certifications and training so you can acknowledge their achievements, and Custom Reporting enables managers to create reports around birthdays, anniversaries or other milestones so the whole team can celebrate.

To learn more, contact a Paycor representative today.