While hosting team-building events
and giving increased responsibility
are common ways to motivate staff, a new survey reveals that a simple
thank you will also win over employees.
Thirty-five percent of workers and 30 percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) cited
frequent recognition of accomplishments
as the most effective nonmonetary reward.
Regular communication was the second-most-common response, given by 20 percent of employees and 36 percent of CFOs.
The surveys were developed by Accountemps, the world’s first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary
accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals.
“It is important that employees know that
their input is valued,” says Jason Skidmore,
vice president for Accountemps in Columbus.
Smart Business spoke with Skidmore
about the importance of recognition and
what employers can do to ensure that
employees know that their work is being
Why was the simple thank you ranked high
among the nontangible incentives?
It’s human nature to want appreciation
and recognition. While salary is important, the satisfaction of knowing that you
are doing a job well and having it recognized is also valuable. We always
think of the tangible rewards we can
throw at people, but a thank you
which is so basic and simple goes a
How much recognition is appropriate?
It’s a balancing act, because recognition
given every day or even every week will
quickly lose its luster. But recognition that
is well-deserved and is given periodically,
either privately or at company functions or
team meetings (once a month or once a
quarter), can be a powerful motivator.
What should managers do to recognize the
accomplishments of their staff?
Yes, because recognition also works to
motivate the manager. However, I would
suggest that the employee coordinate the
recognition with other members of the
team. Otherwise, the praise might be misconstrued as trying to gain favor with the
How can managers increase the level of
communication and recognition with their
First, managers need to create a culture
that looks for the good in people and recognizes publicly and privately work well
done. This kind of culture also encourages
team members to recognize and motivate
each other. After all, recognition does not
have to come just from the manager or the
Goal-setting is very important to creating
this kind of culture. When each member of
the team knows the parameters of a project and its goals, it is easier to see when
people have done a good job to meet those
Mentorships also help recognize excellence. When a manager asks a veteran
worker to mentor a less experienced worker, it sends the message that the mentor’s
contribution is important to the organization … that the mentor has been hand-selected to bring up the next generation of
workers. It sends a positive message to the
person being mentored as well: that the
organization thinks enough of this person
to provide guidance.
The important thing to remember when
trying to increase recognition is that managers need to create a culture in which
communication is valued, and there is a
systematic approach in place to recognize
Recognition does need to be public, but it
also needs to be private as well. The occasional recognition behind closed doors
during a meeting can make a big difference. A simple thank you during a one-onone meeting is important, but also an e-mail or a thank-you card goes a long way.
Public recognition can be in the form of an
announcement at a meeting, in the company’s blog, intranet or newsletter.
What should employees who feel that they do
not receive sufficient recognition do?
The most appropriate thing is to reach
out to their immediate supervisor to
request time to discuss their work.
Sometimes employees are not getting
recognition because there is a good reason,
such as below-standard work (and that
employee needs to hear constructive criticism as well).
But if an employee knows that a job has
been well done and nothing has been said,
he or she needs to ask for feedback. That
kind of communication with a manager is
Should an employee ever recognize his or
JASON SKIDMORE is the vice president of Accountemps in
Columbus. Reach him at [email protected] or (614) 221-9300.