Praise and Recognition: Positively Good for Business


By Wendy Matyjevich
Human Resource Manager
GRG Consulting Engineers
Orlando, Fla

There are only two types of people who benefit from gratitude and sincere appreciation: men and women. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the phrase “Thank You” is an expression of one's gratitude. However, the meaning is much deeper than you would think. William James, a 19th century American philosopher and psychologist, was right on target when he said that “the deepest principle of human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”

People like being appreciated, but what does this have to do with your company making money?

You might be thinking, “I pay my employees, isn’t that enough?” Well, actually it’s not. Is it enough for you? People want a job where they feel like they are appreciated and are making a difference. While compensation is the main reason that most people work, base pay alone does not have a meaningful impact on job satisfaction and performance.

The bottom line is that praise and recognition of employees is good for your business. According to the U.S. Department of Labor the number one reason people leave organizations is that they don’t feel appreciated. Additionally, the Gallup Organization’s polls and research show that individuals who receive regular praise and recognition are more productive, are more likely to be loyal to an organization longer, have better safety records and fewer accidents on the job and regularly receive higher scores from customers. On the whole this improves customer/client loyalty, reduces money spent on recruiting and training replacement employees and increases business profit.

So how do you get your employees to be more productive and stay loyal to your company? First you must realize that people leave bosses, not necessarily organizations. With that piece of information in your pocket, you need to train your managers on how to praise and recognize employees. Managers are key players in giving praise and recognition. When these are absent, the atmosphere and culture sets the platform for unhappy employees, thereby putting your company at risk of losing employees, reducing productivity and sinking the bottom line.

Two main things to remember are positive feedback and immediate recognition. When praising someone always be sincere and mean what you are saying; always make it a positive experience; never follow up with a “but” or bring up a mistake that the employee made. Save that for another day. You should give the praise or recognition directly to the employee, face to face if possible, and make it personal. Get to know your employees and discover if he or she likes public recognition or private recognition. If the employee likes public recognition, give the praise while their peers are present. If the employee likes discreet recognition, be sure to keep it private and give the praise about the employee to another manager or supervisor. You need to be sure to recognize employees for a good job immediately after it happens; saving the recognition for the performance review just doesn’t cut it because it doesn’t have as much of a meaningful impact at that time. Suggested books to purchase for all your managers are Bob Nelson’s 1001 Ways to Reward Employees and How Full is Your Bucket? by Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton.

Sixty-seven percent of Americans surveyed last year said that their company did not deserve their loyalty due to lousy bosses. Can you honestly say that your employees are the part of the remaining 33%? Remember this: A little praise and recognition goes a long way, and they are positively good for business. It is a very simple concept. Employees who feel appreciated will work harder and stay with your company longer; this in turn makes your job as a manager easier and improves company revenue. It’s a win-win situation! And it all starts with two little words: Thank You.

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