Employee recognition – how to do it right

Showing your employees your appreciation is a must. Everybody knows that. But, does everybody know how to do that? Most people associate employee recognition with money… just like the guy in the movie below:

Of course, at the end of the film, the staff is happy… that’s just an ad, though. In reality employee recognition doesn’t have to be connected with financial rewards… In fact it is one of the recognition myths. There are a few of them, and I’m going to bust these myths for you right now! 🙂

Employers seem to have a two-way approach – one that the salary should be rewarding enough (“I show them my appreciation by paying them their salaries, what do they need additional signs of recognition for?”) and two that cash is the best reward, and so rewarding is expensive. First of all, even though most employees probably do their best already, 78% of them say that recognition motivates them and 69% declared they would work even harder if their employer showed them appreciation for their contribution in achieving the company goals (according to a survey of 630 employees conducted in September 2011 by Globoforce).

So, stop for a moment just to say “thank you”, it doesn’t cost anything, just 30 seconds of your time. If, however, you as the boss want to express your gratitude to your subordinates (Never perceive recognition as the HR solely expertise! It is also your task to let your employees know how you feel.), make sure the reward is personalized, don’t assume that cash is the best reward! In fact, it has been stated (in a 2009 article “Large Stakes and Big Mistakes” in the Review of Economic Studies) that a large bonus (o a promise of one) decreases people’s performance. What also can’t be forgotten about is that you only have about 10% of the high-achievers and 80% of the average staff. We all know how important the stars are, but, let’s face it, without the work of the 80% of working day-to-day average employees, the stars couldn’t shine. So forget about the approach of recognizing just the stars, make sure you show your appreciation to regular workers, too.

According to Jennifer Lepird, senior compensation business partner at Intuit in Tucson, Ariz:
“People know why they are receiving recognition and it motivates them to sustain a high level of performance.”
So, get it going!


appreciation – uznanie, wdzięczność
must – konieczność
to associate – kojarzyć
ad – reklama
to bust – rozbijać
two-way – dwutorowy
approach – podejście
rewarding – wynagradzający
recognition – uznanie
contribution – wkład
to conduct – przeprowadzać
gratitude – wdzięczność
subordinate – podwładny
expertise – umiejętność
high-acheiver – ambitny pracownik osiągający ponadprzeciętne wyniki
average – średni
day-to-day – codzienny, codziennie
to sustain – utrzymywać, kontynuować
to get it going – zacząć coś

Exercise 1:
Choose the best answer for each question.

1.    a person working under the authority or control of another

a)    sustain
b)    rewarding
c)    subordinate
d)    appreciation

2.    to keep (something) going or existing.

a)    contribution
b)    rewarding
c)    sustain
d)    expertise

3.    expert knowledge or skill

a)    contribution
b)    expertise
c)    sustain
d)    appreciation

4.    giving you satisfaction, pleasure or profit

a)    contribution
b)    subordinate
c)    sustain
d)    rewarding

5.    something that you do that helps to achieve something or to make it successful

a)    rewarding
b)    subordinate
c)    contribution
d)    expertise

6.    expression of thanks

a)    expertise
b)    contribution
c)    sustain
d)    appreciation

Exercise 2:

Watch the film and complete the sentences below:

1. Common sense ____________ come back into vogue, like spending more time with the employees, talking about what they’re doing well.

2. In flush and lean times, giving praise _______, spending time talking about what the person did well and how it helped should be one of the top behaviours you use as a manager.

3. Data from Gallup tells us that companies in which managers give (…) balanced, regular feedback are 10-20% more ________ than companies who don’t.

4. Formal data tells us that ________ is good for business.

5. You ________ the continuation of effective behaviours and tasks.


flush and lean times – chude i grube lata

praise – pochwała

For more English for HR go to www.s-teem.pl


Exercise 1:

1-c; 2-c; 3-b 4-d; 5-c; 6-d;

Exercise 2:

1-best practices; 2-verbally; 3-productive; 4-recognition; 5-reinforce;


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