The Power of Recognition

How can you increase productivity, enhance morale, and improve retention –  without spending any money? Just recognizing employees for a job well done can  do a lot more than you’d expect. Here are 10 no-cost  ways of improving employee performance.

If your VP wants to increase productivity, enhance employee morale and improve retention—and what VP wouldn’t?—but won’t put additional dollars into your management budget, what can you do? You can recognize your employees.

Research has shown that employees respond positively when they’re recognized by their managers for a job well done. While they appreciate pay raises, year-end bonuses and surprise birthday cakes, it’s recognition that propels employees to perform at increasingly higher levels.

Below are 10 surefire, no-cost ways of putting some punch into your employees’ performance:

1. Take time to listen to your employees. They’re more apt to contribute their ideas if they know you’re really interested in hearing them.

2. Put them in charge of something—a project, a team or a special event. It shows you trust them.

3. Handwrite thank-you notes to them. This simple effort speaks volumes to the recipients.

4. Acknowledge their non-work priorities. It shows you have an interest in them as people as well as employees.

5. Make your feedback specific to the task. It shows them you took careful notice of their work, not just a cursory glance.

6. Involve them in the decision-making process. Whether it’s about the location of the Christmas luncheon or upgrading to new software, employees appreciate being asked their opinion.

7. Say “thank-you” to employees in public, where their peers can hear. You ’ll create “good gossip” that you want to spread throughout your department.

8. Pitch in during a crunch time to help with their tasks. They’ll appreciate your effort much longer than the time you spend helping.

9. Send them an email in appreciation of something they’ve done. It’s nice to receive an email message without a task attached to it.

10. Spend time coaching employees. Sharing your knowledge and skills with your employees shows them you see their potential for growth.

Now is a great time to make a resolution to start—or energize!—your recognition effort in the New Year. The results will show not only in employee performance but in office morale as well.

Rosalind “Roz” Jeffries is the president of the Performance Enhancement Group ( and a popular speaker on recognition and retention. She is the author of the best-selling pocket-sized guide to recognizing employees, 101 RECOGNITION SECRETS: TOOLS FOR MOTIVATING AND RECOGNIZING TODAY’S WORKFORCE.

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