Beware: We’ve Always Done It This Way

We'veAlwaysDoneItThisWayHow many times do we hear this in business? A “we’ve always done it this way” approach is not part a successful employee recognition strategy. From time to time, it’s important to take a fresh look at your appreciation efforts and recognition programs.

Here’s a quick list of Dos and Don’ts:

1) Don’t do Employee of the Month Programs. Instead DO focus on day-to-day appreciation tools and on-the spot recognition like Employee of the Moment cards.

If you have a monthly recognition program, give it a unique name like Pat on the Back or Caught You Giving Great Service. Recognition should be driven by performance, not a calendar.

2) Don’t wait until 5 years to recognize service milestones. DO recognize the first year of service with a framed certificate, a nominal gift card or something meaningful to the individual. I see companies celebrating 1 or 3 years of service as people change jobs frequently.

3) Don’t do surprise awards unless you are absolutely certain that person likes public recognition. DO ask people how they like to be recognized and individualize your approach.

4) Don’t leave all the recognition decisions up to management or HR. As Rochelle Crollard, former HR Director of The Everett Clinic suggests, “HR should play a supportive — not starring role — in recognition.” DO involve employees in designing your employee recognition strategy. People own what they create and want to see it succeed.

5) Don’t be secretive about awards. DO be transparent and let employees know what it takes to earn awards and what the criteria is. This gives the program credibility.

6) DON’T save all your accolades for the performance review. According to Gallup, employees need to receive thanks and praise every 7 days to stay actively engaged.

Get your THANK ON™! Theresa Chambers, Chief Motivation Officer, Recognition Works, helps companies cultivate cultures of appreciation and engagement through consulting, Recognize the Moment® Lunch-n-Learns, and Thankology™ Toolkits and more. She can be reached at or 206/353.8267. You are welcome to share this post. Just give credit where credit is due.