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Understanding Recognition to Plan Your Best Year Yet

Employee recognition is increasingly becoming a critical part of business management strategies. Not only does recognition have financial benefits, but it also aids in the creation of a healthy and positive work environment. Oftentimes, companies know that they should have a system for employee recognition, but don’t know where to start. Let’s start with the basics.

It’s Multifaceted

Appreciation and praise are integral parts of human motivation. Everyone enjoys feeling valued and knowing their efforts were worthwhile. However, the action of giving recognition requires a nuanced approach. Both short-term and long-term motivational needs should be considered when creating a recognition program. This makes recognition a 365 day activity. Expressions of appreciation will vary widely depending on the occasion, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Companies should decide what instances, both big and small, they want to celebrate and build a plan from there.

Structured Recognition

A good recognition program will employ both structured and unstructured recognition. Structured recognition is the more formal method of employee appreciation. The awards are expected by the employees and given at predictable times.

Examples of structured recognition include:

Structured recognition allows a company to build a strong foundation for a culture of recognition. These accolades are ceremonial and driven by the organization itself, creating a sense of belonging. These types of awards also tend to include all employees, so everyone has an opportunity to be recognized.

Unstructured Recognition

While structured recognition works to encourage long-term motivation, its inherent formality means it is done less frequently. Unstructured recognition fills in the gaps with spontaneous gestures of appreciation. This type of recognition can come from both managers and peers.

Examples of unstructured recognition include:

  • An emailed shout out of top performers
  • Verbal praise in a meeting
  • Celebrating personal milestones
  • Continuous recognition (such as a points-based system)

Unstructured recognition is the day-to-day beating heart of a recognition-based company culture. These gestures are genuine, immediate, and frequent, allowing employees to feel appreciated year-round.

As businesses look ahead to 2024, it’s the perfect time for them to take a critical look at their recognition programs. By addressing the balance of structured and unstructured recognition, companies can find the combination that works best for them. For more information on creating and maintaining recognition programs, see our other blogs such as:
The 5 Key Pillars of a Successful Recognition Program
and Where to Start When Creating an Employe Recognition Program

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