“A company has a greater responsibility than making money for its stockholders.” David Packard, co-founder, President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board of Hewlett-Packard once quipped. “We have a responsibility to our employees to recognize their dignity as human beings.”

For those who have experienced working for a company or institution, it has almost become a common knowledge that successful companies are those that showed the uncanny ability to make their employees happy. One of the ways, experience would dictate, to make such employees happy would be to give them the recognition due them for jobs well done. No matter how hard some people might deny it, every employee secretly or openly crave recognition. As human beings, recognition makes us happy; makes us work harder; inspires us to stay with the company; transforms us to be the ideal employees. How so? Recognizing and giving praise to an employee actually stimulates a biological response in their brains through the release of dopamine – a highly addictive neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure, enjoyment, and euphoria. Through the treatment of employees as if they were your best customers and giving them the appropriate recognition, employee engagement can increase, foster employee advocacy, and ultimately affect the company well-being. Having said that, allow me now to offer some useful and practical tips on how to go about recognizing employees.

Be timely with your recognition efforts.

Old-fashioned recognition programs cannot have the same effect as an immediate recognition for an excellent work. Do not wait for months to recognize what has been superbly done today. Send a recognition memo or post a note on the employee’s door or table thanking him or her for a great job. A pat on the back or a face-to-face personal acknowledgment will do wonders to a staff’s morale. Better yet, why don’t you ask 1 or 2 high-ranking officers to go with you and spontaneously drop by the staff’s cubicle to recognize excellent work? Sending out a weekly “Great Achievement Award” to everyone to acknowledge outstanding employees will also help. During a meeting, recognize the employee’s success, hold up an applause sign, and then look at the expression of the employee’s reaction and you will realize that I am right.

Give your employees unplanned practical rewards.

If an employee did a great job, treat the employee to a free car wash or a simple merienda! If there were individuals who only worked “behind the scenes” but were instrumental to a success of a project, send them some snacks and flowers with thank you notes attached. Be spontaneous and unpredictable for greater effect. You may also opt to just bypass the employee who has finished a project involving long hours in the office and send the significant other a letter of appreciation and a gift certificate or voucher for two at a quiet restaurant.

Instead of a Top-Down recognition, a Peer-to-Peer Recognition will have a greater impact in the morale, confidence, and self-worth of employees.

A study conducted in Oracle, an American multinational computer technology corporation, showed that employees have a greater influence on their peers’ engagement level in the office by a factor of two over recognition by managers. This is because employees have a greater sense of what peers do on a day-to-day basis and know how difficult, or easy, a project really is.

Use social media.

Since most companies have some semblance of presence in social media, a public recognition of employees using such media will show the public that employees who should be emulated are treasured and recognized by the company. Shout outs in the social media will show the world how awesome your employees are. The “likes” and “shares” of co-employees will further highlight such employees’ importance. Needless to say, the boost in self-confidence and sense of satisfaction of the employee will be immeasurable and will definitely go a long way.

Recognize your team by recognizing their passions.

Valuing an employee’s passion will give a signal to the employee that he or she is valued as a unique individual. Giving deserving employees 1 to 2 hours of “free time” to pursue a hobby or passion once a week, for example, during office hours will not only de-stress the employee, recharge the mind and soul of the staff, and will be a positive and sought-after incentive.

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