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Employee Recognition Programs

Every employee would like to earn as high a salary as they can at their job but surprisingly it’s not the number one motivating factor for them in the workplace. Human resource surveys indicate that wages are not even among the top five motivating factors for an employee. What does rank as one of the highest factors is being recognized by their employer for their contributions.

Rewards and Recognition Motivate

Rewarding and recognizing employees motivates them. Rewarding an employee motivates an employee extrinsically. Recognizing an employee motivates an employee intrinsically. To put it another way, money is a reward. Recognition may mean granting an honor or awarding a trophy.

Tips for recognizing and rewarding employees include:

  • Give people credit for their ideas and efforts frequently and informally. You can do this in a staff meeting, when you see them in the hall, via email, via voicemail, or a variety of other ways.
  • Write a personal note expressing your appreciation for the employee. You can send email or write a hand-written note. Either will work, though many people place more value on a hand-written note.
  • Formally recognize special efforts. If your department has a newsletter, print a short announcement recognizing the employee. You can also post an announcement on a departmental bulletin board.
  • Nominate the employee for an award.

Be sure to consider the way in which you present the reward or recognition. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I sincere about giving this reward or recognition?
  • Am I doing this at the right time
  • Should the reward or recognition be presented in a formal or informal venue?
  • Would this person prefer being recognized or rewarded in a public or private way?

The ODL staff can assist you in developing recognition programs for your department, division and/or employees.

Additional Resources:
  • Bowen, R. B. (2002). Recognizing and Rewarding Employees. New York, NY: Mc-Graw Hill.
  • Nelson, B. & Blanchard, K. H. (1994). 1001 Ways to Reward Employees. Workman Publishing Company.

Last updated: 10/21/2022