The 5Ws And 1H Of Employee Recognition Explained

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Employee Recognition Explained

It is human to want investment of effort, time, emotions or all three into some work or relationship reciprocated.

Talking about the same in relation to the workplace, employees– all of them, invest their time, efforts into the company depending how emotionally invested they are in the company’s growth. The two ways to reciprocate are rewarding and recognising– coupled together, they can lead to great outcomes. When picked standalone, one is more like a gimmick, shortsighted and the other more meaningful and long term.

However, instead of finding ways  to increase emotional investment of employees; companies end up focusing more on motivating them through reward programs and paid incentives. On the contrary, recognition given for some well done job is the most effective way to increase satisfaction and output.

What Is Employee Recognition?

As the word suggests, employee recognition is the acknowledgment and expression of gratitude (thankfulness) for contribution by the employee(s). Something as little as a high-five, a special mention of efforts in the meeting (then maybe extending a monetary award) or even a handwritten note or an email, all count up as a way to do recognition.

Some of the substantial benefits of employee recognition when the a program that aligns with your companies core value are-

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Now, in the next ‘W’, let’s explore the importance of employee recognition.

Why Is Employee Recognition Done?

The importance of employee recognition has been overlooked all the time. But, as we write this blog, currently, due to the changing world of work, the right kind of recognition is a great way to keep employees engaged and satisfied. To this, many would certainly argue that better compensation can help retain the employee(s), right?

To make you understand the value of recognition, here’s a fact and a test.

Research proves when the cost of living expectations are being covered, compensation no longer plays a factor, it fails to keep the employee loyal or productive.

What truly matters is how valued and recognised the employee(s) feel.

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Answer this- You decide to change your job for better compensation or learning, growth opportunities. When you resign, you are offered the exact same thing as what you were offered by the new company. Would you stay?

If it were a yes-
You love the company for the comfort, culture and environment; maybe a great team to work with. You have always felt valued and appreciated, the growth, however, might be withheld for long. Now, that that is not a constraint anymore, you wish to stay.

If it were a no-
You see no growth staying at the current company. You don’t feel valued enough and consider it won’t improve.

Isn’t it? People only wish to stay in the company even when they have other opportunity knocking at their door because they are happy with the people, culture, management- all recognise them. The only constraint was compensation or learning, growth.

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Job Satisfaction Parameters
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Recognition not only keeps your employees loyal but also helps build a strong employer brand. Your candidates, employees and ex-employees speak good about you, in their circle.

Moreover, as humans we are wired to respond positively to the appreciation from the very start. Being appreciated for something as simple as completing your tasks on time also motivates the employee to ensure the rest of the tasks are completed timely too. 

When Should Employee Recognition Be Done?

The when of recognition is not specific, it isn’t a one-time expression. It should be frequent and must be delivered in the manner the employee likes. There’s nothing as ‘too much employee recognition’, so, if you cannot do it daily, do it weekly and always in time when deserved.

Gallup says, “Recognition for good work has a “shelf life” of just one week.”

Mentioned below are some instances when employees must be recognised-

    1. When an average/poor performer shows signs of improvement
    2. When an employee goes out of their way to help someone else in the team/ organisation
    3. When an employee takes an initiative or additional task than the ones defined 
    4. When an employee’s work impacts numbers significantly
    5. When an employee gives viable suggestions/ ideas in a meeting/ brainstorming session
      And so on…

Where Should Employee Recognition Be Done?

Depending on the work model your company follows, there are different opportunities and ways you can leverage for employee recognition.

Make It Online- This is the most convenient way to ensure recognition is done in time. No matter where you are, or which work model you have adopted, using an HR software like HROne, or sending an email or message in the group chat can help in doing employee recognition in time.

Do It In- person- We can go as virtual or tech-dependent as the circumstances push us to, but the truth is that in-person recognition cannot be replaced. One-on-one acknowledgment of the abilities and performance, gestures go a long way. This way it becomes more personal and intimate.

Never Miss At Events- Notable events that happen in the company where the entire company is invited are the best platform to recognise the employees in your team who have been performing extraordinarily. Mention their name, talk about their major contributions and qualities that made you consider him the most deserving of the mention. Giving titles like Star Performer Of The Year in every department can also be done.

Mention In Meetings- Whether the meetings are virtual or in physical, recognising employee(s) for good work when the whole team is present is a great way to start or end the day at work. This is the right place for when you want to appreciate an employee for the little daily actions that deserve an applause. For instance, completing the urgent basis ad-hoc task in time and not letting it impact their tasks for the day. It can also be for some task they volunteered to do.

Who All Should Do Employee Recognition?

Anyone in the organisation should be able to recognise anyone depending on the reason/ situation. Only this practice of 360 Degree employee reward and recognition can help keep it continuous and ongoing. When you put a hierarchy to it, you limit ways to recognise and also put the responsibility of recognition on several people in the company.

The flow of recognition should be lateral and vertical + intra-departmental and interdepartmental both. Management/ manager should praise employees/ team, peers should praise peers and clients should also be given a means to appreciate and the employees should be able to praise management as well.

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Whom does the employee look upto?

For who should do recognition, it all comes down to this question- Whom does the employee look upto? There’s always someone we want to be like or adapt some qualities/ skills of. Isn’t it? The manager, your colleague, your founder or the HR.

Praise coming from people at the top of the chart like founder, director and the CEO would always be meaningful.
How knowledgeable, empathetic, devoted to quality and strong work ethics and the rapport the individual holds in the eyes of the recognised makes a huge difference.

Disagree? Answer this-
Would you like being appreciated by a manager who has no or barely meaningful feedback on your work and  loves to procrastinate, delegate his/ her tasks to others


your peer or Asst. Manager, who is passionate for work and always gives you honest feedback on your work?
The sense of achievement and motivation would only come/ be higher from the latter.

Great Recogniser= Knowledge+ Passion for Work + Great Behavior/ Conduct

At HROne, we try to ascertain which person the employee is gaga over. It helps us ensure when the situation aligns and good work is done, recognition comes from the person they admire for the very quality they are being appreciated for. For instance-

  1. A badge on HROne for writing brilliant product based blog from the Product Head
  2. A badge for being appreciated for best implementation or support from the team lead whom everyone appreciates for the best work ethic and so on…

How To Create A Culture Of Employee Recognition?

Creating employee recognition culture can be quite daunting if you don’t incorporate the following points when setting the foundation of your reward and recognition program.

Did you use diversified acts of recognition?

When setting the program, you must create two buckets: frequent ways to recognise and significant ways to recognise. Frequent can include giving a badge, sharing xxxx amount vouchers and more. Significant ones can include prompting the employee, giving him/ her a xxxxx voucher or sponsoring a trip.

Using different ways to recognise employees is great to keep the zest up and make employees look forward to how they would be recognised next. Would it be mail? Would it be a box of chocolates delivered with a handwritten note at the doorstep? Would it be a gift voucher? Or a promotion?

Did you do newsletter mentions?

One quite underestimated way to inspire employees through recognition is to honour them by mentioning their name and picture in the newsletter you share with your mailing list. This also leaves a great impression of your brand on the people outside the company.

Did you use the 3Ps of recognition?

Private recognition, public recognition and promotion, these are the 3Ps of recognition. While public recognition and promotion is done from time to time using the HR software, the importance of private recognition is overlooked. So, give a badge on the portal or send a mail but never forget to make a call to admire.

So, we are saying…

1. Know when to recognise and how. The method and type of recognition done should be equivalent (not too grand and not so small that it seems disrespectful) to the effort being recognised
2. Recognising employee efforts in time stands crucial in the effectiveness of the action
3. Recognition is received more positively when it comes from the person the employee looks up to and admires a lot
4. Recognition is an integral part of job satisfaction. It can help retain the best of your employees
5. Recognition should be continuous and 360, it’s the easiest way to ingrain recognition in company culture

Write a thank you note, copy your team, share it as an email, post it on your company wall or even the WhatsApp group. Think around making a strong rewards and recognition program and declaring the reward and recognition policy. The few minutes you would put in daily now, would reap the loyalty and trust of your employees uptil a long time.

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Sukriti Saini

Sukriti Saini works as a content marketing strategist at HROne. She has done Bachelors in Journalism from Delhi University and carries several years of experience in content development. HR trends, Productivity, Performance and topics related to Employee Engagement garner most of her writing interest here. During leisure, she loves to write and talk about fashion, food & life.

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