Getting Employee Recognition Right

According to one study from Deloitte Consulting 89% of employees are not passionate about their work. When an organization introduces a recognition into its culture, it can positively influence employee passion. Employee recognition, however, needs to be done right or it becomes a flavor of the month, a management fad, that damages instead of improves passion and employee commitment.

The foundation for organizations to get recognition right rests upon two foundational tenants

  1. Frequency: The occasional “thank you” is not enough. Demonstrate to employees through your actions and words regularly how much you appreciate their hard work.
  2. Gratitude: Sure regularly recognizing employee contributions is important. It needs, however, to be done with a spirit of genuine gratitude. Otherwise the recognition seems ungenuine.

In this episode of Work That Matters, Roy Saunderson shares his wisdom about making recognition a critical part to your leadership practice. Saunderson makes a distinction, however, that separates the successful integration of recognition into your culture: practices versus program.

Organizations that make it a practice to recognize employees have a greater chance of naturally integrating recognition into the culture. Whereas those who start a recognition program often create an obligatory, check-the-box program that too often fails to deliver “relational and personal” recognition, according to Saunderson, that resonates and is received as meaningful by employees.


Quotes from Roy

  • “Start with a philosophy, a purpose for recognition, practicing recognition, [defining] what are the principles for recognition.”
  • “We’re losing the art of saying, ‘thank you’ meaningfully.”
  • “When you give rewards, you should always give recognition.”
  • “I might get the reward at the end of the project, completion of a target goal, but no ones says anything along the way. So we’ve had a lost opportunity.”
  • “[Organizations have] not done a good job of educating managers on how to effectively give meaningful recognition to people.”

Roy’s Body of Work

Giving the Real Recognition Way


Image credit: fuzzbones / 123RF Stock Photo

Change Leader | Speaker | Writer Co-founder and CEO of Switch and Shift. Passionately explores the space where business & humanity intersect. Promoter of workplace optimism. Believes work can be a source of joy. Top ranked leadership blogger by Huffington Post. The Optimistic Workplace (AMACOM) out 2015

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