Recognition is Planned, and Not by Chance

To keep the workforce happy and content, some companies pay their employees more than they really need to. The pressure from employees for more money might not have been there had the company simply showed sufficient appreciation for their employees during the course of their work. I’m not saying that employees shouldn’t receive a fair and equitable paycheque, but “pay” is not an effective means to reward good work. Employees typically get paid because they showed up for work and the payroll clerk issued the cheques on time; not necessarily because the employee did the job well. Benefits and company socials are important as well, but they usually don’t reward or reinforce specific job performance; and to be effective, reinforcement must be for specific work.

Employer: Thanking an employee and giving sincere appreciation for specific good work is a fundamental management responsibility; it’s not just being nice; it’s a requirement for all management and a principle of managing people. But the dilemma is that although most employees want to be told they’re doing good work, managers are rarely aware of everything an employee does. So if your employees expect you to be out there thanking them every time they do their jobs well – they’re going to be out of luck and very disappointed.

Instead, schedule frequent, one-on-one update meetings with all the employees you supervise, not just with the new ones. Unlike an annual performance review, this is their meeting to review their performance with you. They know what they’re doing so let them come to you and give you specific examples. You can then double-check that they are on track and thank them for their good work.

New Employee: Don’t sit and wait for “thank you’s” from your supervisor. Be proactive and update your supervisor from time to time. Let the supervisor know what you’re doing, and if needed, ask for help. Be specific with your examples and give your supervisor this opportunity to show you his or her appreciation. And when you receive some recognition, don’t forget to thank your supervisor – the supervisor needs appreciation too.

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