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Discovery Surveys, Inc.
Specializing in Employee Opinion and Customer Satisfaction Surveys
Improving the Workplace
THANK YOUR EMPLOYEES: A SEASONAL MESSAGE

By Bruce L. Katcher, Ph.D. President, Discovery Surveys, Inc.

One out of two employees say their supervisors do not recognize them for work well done.

Part 1 -WE'RE NOT DOING A GOOD JOB OF RECOGNIZING EMPLOYEES.

This is the time of year when we give thanks for our health, our family, and our happiness. Many of us send thank you cards to our customers, suppliers, friends, and colleagues. But we often forget to thank the people to whom we owe the most praise -- our employees. Our research shows that:

  • About one half of employees feel they do not receive recognition from their supervisors for work well done; and

  • More than two-thirds say they are not recognized for their contributions to improving the quality of products and services.

Part 2 - FIVE REASONS WHY WE BOTCH THE JOB

  1. We take employees for granted.

  2. We view employees as expenses rather than investments and vital assets.

  3. We don't realize how important praise and recognition really are to employees.

  4. Thanking employees is awkward and just not part of our normal repertoire of interpersonal behavior.

  5. We don't know how to thank or recognize employees in a meaningful way that will be perceived as intended.

Part 3 - WHAT WORKS AND WHAT DOESN'T

  1. Use Individual-based Recognition Instead of Group Recognition

    Every year most employers provide group recognition to their employees in the form of lavish holiday parties, gift turkeys, or cash bonuses. Everyone receives the politically correct same amount of recognition for his or her loyalty and good performance.

    However, as well intentioned as this might be, individuals often perceive this type of recognition as meaningless. What they want instead is personal recognition for their own individual contributions.

  2. Accompany Individual Bonuses With an Appropriate Personal Message

    Organizations that merely mail bonus checks to their employees are missing out on an excellent opportunity to really show them their appreciation. The check should be accompanied by a personal visit from the supervisor or senior manager during which personal thanks is provided. If this is not possible, at a minimum there should be a personal note of thanks attached to the bonus check. The note should contain specific details.

  3. Provide Immediate Rather than After-the-fact Recognition

    Although it is customary to provide recognition at certain times of the year, it is better to catch people in the act of doing good things and provide them on-the-spot recognition. It is then much clearer to the employee exactly why they are being praised.

  4. Words Can Be At Least As Effective As Money.

    Annual bonuses such as cash are often viewed by employees as entitlements and not as personal recognition for their good work. The bonus therefore has little positive effect. Sincere, heartfelt, praise clearly articulated and provided at the right time is much more powerful.

So this coming year, resolve to catch people in the act of making good contributions and provide them with immediate personalized recognition. You'll feel better and your employees will feel better about their work and their commitment to your organization.

I am very much interested in your views on this topic.
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