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Want to Recognize Your Employees Effectively? 
Think Beyond Pay

by Leigh N. Schutzky, PHR

Some of the most effective, simple and low-cost ways for managers to show appreciation to their employees are through acts of recognition.  Recognition can be formal or informal, and awards can be cash or noncash items.

Too often managers think the best way to reward their employees is by giving them an increase in pay.  Granted, a company’s pay program must be fair, legally compliant and perceived as equitable by its employees.  But pay alone is rarely a satisfier.  Unfortunately, managers caught in this mindset don’t realize that true employee satisfaction is better achieved through other types of recognition.

Below are ten of the most effective ways that you, as a manager, can recognize your employees:

  1. Verbal acknowledgment on a job well done.
  2. A handwritten thank you note.
  3. A dining or entertainment gift card.
  4. Words of praise in front of key customers.
  5. Providing more flexibility in your employee’s schedule.
  6. A gift imprinted with the company’s name and logo.
  7. An award or plaque presented in front of your employee’s peers.
  8. Providing an opportunity for your employee to work on an important or cutting-edge project.
  9. Trusting your employee with more autonomy in his or her work day.
  10. Asking your employee to represent the company at a business-related function.

Recognition is a primary driver in creating satisfied employees, not what’s in their paychecks. So next time one of your employees is appearing dissatisfied, remember to think beyond pay and identify another way you can recognize that employee for his or her contribution to the work environment. You’ll show the employee he or she is truly valued by your company, and in turn you’ll be rewarded by increased employee motivation, engagement, retention and loyalty.

Additional resources:
“1001 Ways to Reward Employees”, Bob Nelson, Workman Publishing Company, 2005
“Love ‘em or Lose ‘em: Getting Good People to Stay”, Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans, Berrett Koehler, 2002
“The Carrot Principle: How the Best Managers Use Recognition to Engage Their People, Retain Talent and Accelerate Performance”, Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton, Free Press, 2007

Content © July 2008 Leigh N. Schutzky
Leigh N. Schutzky is a Human Resources and Organizational Consultant specializing in developing compensation and reward solutions for employers. She has 10 years experience in human resources and management, including 7 years in compensation, and a combined total of over 20 years of professional level experience and education. 
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