Acknowledge your employees

HR’s Ability to Connect with Hourly Employees

It’s less of this:

“We have a plaque on the wall that shows the employee of the month.”

“There is a parking spot near the entrance for our best associate”

“Lunch was catered last month for our quarterly meeting.”

And more of this:

“Jamie, you’re so awesome!”

“Taylor, thanks so much!”

“Jenna, wow, today makes it two years you’ve been with our company. We’re so grateful for your commitment to making this place a better place.”

“Toby, your idea of how to improve our customer support process has saved tons of time and money. As a ‘thank you’, here’s a fully paid trip for you and your family. You’re going on a cruise!”

“Kent, I know it has been crazy and we’ve been working lots of overtime. Now that we’ve got that new system in place, we’d like to promote you over an entire area AND you get a 25% pay bump.”

The most effective acknowledgment happens when your employees hear words like that from leadership in person. Face-to-face acknowledgment makes the recognition personal and can be delivered with emotion.

Knowing how your employees prefer to receive recognition is also imperative. For some, nothing feels better than to have praise rained down on them in front of their peers. Go big and social with all the hoopla you can muster.

If your employee is detail-oriented and craves the no-frills approach, leave the trumpet behind and be sure to praise her using specific details about her work.

Lastly, acknowledging employees is more than just a one-time event; it should be happening consistently in events, moments, meetings, and conversations, The important letter is the ‘s’.

If your organization already has an employee recognition plan in place, great! Keep going.

If not, here are a few ideas for you to consider.

  • Reward middle managers both financially and verbally for operational success. If one of your organization’s goals is to reduce costly employee turnover, financially rewarding managers who are meeting this business objective is a great way to acknowledge their achievements.
  • Create an ‘employees of the year’ award based on peer recommendation and start a compelling award ceremony where winners are brought together for a special event in their honor. Delta airlines nail this type of recognition event every year.
  • Give recognition awards on work anniversaries. Job hunting increases nearly 10% on an employee’s work anniversary. If you don’t tell them how great they are, some other company might.
  • Promote employees based on merit, and in high turnover industries, increase wages based on retention (e.g. pay bump at day 90, 180, 365) “You stay, we pay (more)” Don’t think your organization can afford higher wages? Think it would bankrupt the company? Henry Ford tried it and it worked. The more he paid workers, the more cars they sold.

Who are two people on your team that hasn’t received positive recognition from you this week? Have their names in mind?

Put down your smartphone (or get up from your computer), walk over, and tell them how much you appreciate all their efforts. Acknowledgment of this kind pays for itself tomorrow.



#TEAMworks empowers every layer of leadership within your organization. Great teams work because they communicate well, are equipped to perform at the highest level, are repeatedly acknowledged for their efforts, and unashamedly measured to achieve peak performance.

#TEAMworks | Talk, Equip, Acknowledge, Measure

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