No Love: 9 Ways to Completely Fail at Employee Recognition

We’re all familiar with the benefits of employee recognition. When employees feel valued, they’re more engaged, more motivated, and more likely to go the extra mile for their company (just to name a few). But despite knowing the impact it can have on employee morale and business success; some companies still completely fail at employee recognition.

Below are 9 ways companies completely fail at employee recognition (and how to fix it).

You don’t recognize employees in real time.

Don’t leave an employee waiting to be recognized. Recognizing employee contributions as they happen show that you’re invested in their work and success and keeps them motivated to hit the next milestone. Real, authentic recognition happens in real time.

Your recognition is generic, stale, and predictable.

What’s your company’s go-to method of recognition? Do employees receive the same type of praise, regardless of their contribution to the team or personal preferences? Your generic, stale, and predictable recognition strategy is probably having a negative effect (cue employee eye rolls every time they receive a “Good Job!” sticker on their desk). Need some inspiration? Check out these 40 fresh employee recognition ideas

You only recognize achievement.

If you’re only recognizing success and goal achievement, you’re doing employee recognition wrong. When you don’t appreciate employees for putting in extra hours, taking on a heavier workload, or going above and beyond their job description, they’ll be left saying, “What the WHAT!?” (and likely won’t put in that extra effort again).


Your larger recognition programs are the only outlet for employee appreciation.

Awards like Employee of the Month and Rookie of the Year are great, but if they’re your only outlet for recognizing employees, a lot of success and effort will go unnoticed.

Your program doesn’t allow peers to recognize one another.

Recognition from immediate managers and senior leaders is important, but don’t overlook the impact of praise from a close coworker. Allow peers to give one another kudos when they see an opportunity, as team members and work buddies often have more insight into employee effort and morale than upper-level leaders do.

You don’t make employee recognition public.

Public recognition gives peers, managers, and senior leaders visibility to employees’ hard work and success. And when the entire company has visibility to recognition (or lack thereof), employees are motivated to work harder and achieve results. If employee recognition is kept just between a manager and employee, you miss out on that benefit.

You don’t utilize a recognition software.

It’s 2017. If you’re not connecting with employees where they’re at (cough, cell phones!) and leveraging user friendly technology to make every aspect of your employee recognition more efficient, more accessible, and more personable, then you’re behind the times. Check out these six tips to picking the right employee recognition software for your culture.

You don’t incorporate employee recognition into performance conversations. 

Ignoring employee recognition in manager-employee performance conversations or reviews is a missed opportunity. Incorporating employee recognition (given and received) not only helps inform performance conversations, but it also solidifies the importance of employee recognition in your culture.

You don’t ask for feedback on your recognition program.

Many organizations don’t know if they’re failing at employee recognition because they don’t ask for feedback. Use your one-on-one meetings or employee surveys to find out if your employees feel valued, if they’re receiving genuine recognition in real time, and what you can do to improve your organization’s employee recognition strategy.

~Quantum Workplace, Natalie Hackbarth

About the Author:

TTracey Chantry graduated from Radford University with Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and has spent 15 years in Human Resources, 10 of which have been in a leadership role. She is a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR). She has extensive hands-on experience leading HR initiatives including policy design, training and development, compensation, performance management, recruiting, compliance reporting, and benefits administration. For fun, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends and stays active by walking, running and swimming. She and her husband Pete have 3 kids that range in age from 12 to 24 years old.

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