Your People Experts

Respect, Recognize and Appreciate Employees

Is it important to recognize employees? I mean, why should they be recognized for doing their job? Afterall, that’s what they’re getting paid to do – right?

While it’s true that employees are doing what they are paid to do, recognizing them for doing just that goes a long way in motivating constructive behavior and uplifting employee morale.

Managers can set a positive, productive work ethic and attitude by some simple recognition for a job well-done. This recognition sets the foundation for building the work relationship between managers and employees. If employees feel they have a good relationship with their managers, they tend to perform better and become a good example for their coworkers. Just recognizing an employee with a simple hello in the morning can set the stage for the rest of the workday.

Keep in mind that building a better working relationship can also add quality to the work/life balance that employees are looking for. Employees perform better when they know their managers pay attention and understand their need to balance their work responsibilities with their home responsibilities. This balance can happen when consideration is paid to fair compensation; a good benefits package; safe working conditions; training and advancement opportunities; a little empathy when they have a personal issue; and more importantly…respect. Being respectful to an employee is a key factor in building the work relationship that is critical in the goals of the organization. Respect promotes better work principles and loyalty on both sides of the employment relationship and keeps employee morale at a higher level.

One easy way to show respect and appreciate employees is provide proper feedback. Employees generally feel they only receive feedback during their performance review. It’s during this review they learn they may not have been performing their jobs effectively or efficiently. Now, while it is important to let employees know they may not have been performing up to standards, it should be brought up at the time of the adverse occurrence. Don’t let an employee find out you haven’t been happy about their job performance at the end of the year. If they knew this earlier, they could have taken suggestions and made improvements. Likewise, if you see an employee doing a great job, let them know right then and there. Identifying them throughout the year does wonders for their self-esteem and thus, motivates them to be a better worker.

Make a plan to better respect and recognize employees and ensure you are recognizing ALL employees. Don’t get into a pattern of only acknowledging a few select ones – treat everyone fairly. No employee should be seen as the “manager’s pet.” Start by setting yourself up to be more mindful in outlining the tone for the workday. Making simple conversation can be an insight into an employee’s mood and perhaps even change it for the better, so try to say something positive to everyone you meet…even a cheerful hello or good morning can do the trick.

Get to know your employees by first name and learn something about them. Ask how the spouse or kids are, did they have a good weekend or trip, ask how their job is going. Remember to praise publically…criticize privately. If they’re doing a good job, let them know you appreciate their effort. If they’re having issues, invite them into your office to discuss or set up a time convenient to both of you. Knowing they can go to their manager to discuss work or personal issues tells employees their opinions or concerns matter.

Make time for team-building meetings or exercises. Getting everyone to work on a team can be difficult as there may be personality or idea conflicts, but giving employees the chance to express their points on a project helps to create a sense of partnership with their coworkers. It lets them know they’re all in it together and everyone can trust and learn from one another, and while you can recognize individuals who may have gone above and beyond, always celebrate achieved goals as a collective group effort.

The bottom line is that happy employees are productive employees. And, yes employees are getting paid to perform their job tasks, but it always makes them feel good and strive to be better employees when they are recognized for their effort. Given the right incentives, employees will develop a sense of loyalty and feel proud to work for your organization.

So, what else can you do to recognize and appreciate employees? CLICK HERE for some free and low-cost ideas.


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EAF provides information about current developments in labor and employment law. This information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Questions requiring legal advice should be addressed to the attorney of your choice. EAF members may be able to obtain a legal interpretation through our FREE Legal Hotline.