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14 Pros and Cons of Employee Recognition

Eventually employees need something more than just a paycheck to feel like their job has meaning. There have to be other rewards and benefits in place. One of the easiest ways to add value to this relationship is to offer different forms of employee recognition. It could be a free trip somewhere, a plaque, an extra vacation day, or even a simple “thank you” when a job is well done. Here are some of the key points to consider when looking at the various pros and cons of employee recognition.

What Are the Pros of Employee Recognition?

1. It allows employees to feel appreciated for all of their hard work over a specific period of time.

2. Recognizing employees doesn’t have to cost an organization anything. If a manager simply goes out of their way to make sure their direct reports are thanked and recognized, then it can be an incredible boost to their overall morale.

3. Happier employees will maintain higher productivity levels, giving an organization the chance to achieve better profits.

4. Employee recognition helps to align workers to a company’s overall mission statement and business goals. This is because the standards that are set to receive certain types of recognition directly correlate with what the business hopes to achieve with their business plan.

5. A program which allows employees to nominate each other for this award helps to keep the entire process fair. One clique or group of workers cannot dominate the recognitions that are received every year when everyone is allowed to participate.

6. Various levels of recognition can be created so that employees at many different levels of experience or seniority can all be awarded for the great things they are doing every day.

7. Employees don’t have to be recognized just for their contributions at the workplace for a program to be effective. If workers go above and beyond in their community by volunteering at the local shelter, making regular donations to the food bank, or mentoring college students to be ready for the rigors of the modern work environment, then a recognition of these actions can help workers feel more appreciated as a person instead of just as an employee.

What Are the Cons of Employee Recognition?

1. The wrong method of employee recognition can destroy whatever motivation a hard worker may have. There’s only so many times that a manager can say “thank you” before it begins to feel hollow and meaningless.

2. It can become very expensive to recognize employees on a consistent basis.

3. When one team member tends to be recognized more than others on a consistent basis, then employee recognition can cause a divide within a team or organization very quickly. Everyone feels like they work hard every day, even if all they do is come to work and chat with others while drinking coffee. They feel like their hard work goes unrecognized while the work of someone else is always in the spotlight and this creates jealousy.

4. It can create an environment where favoritism is perceived. This is especially true when there are married or dating couples involved, certain factions always recognized, or if close friends and family are always recognizing the accomplishments of each other and no one else.

5. Employee recognition programs that are not awarded with some level of frequency are generally not effective. If only one employee is recognized per year, for example, then there is a drop in the willingness of others to excel for a prolonged period of time.

6. The recognition doesn’t always fit with the accomplishments. If a worker saves a company tens of thousands of dollars because they were able to change a process to make it more efficient, don’t they deserve something more than a company-branded polo shirt, a pin, or a coffee mug?

7. It may create a sense of entitlement. Sometimes work for the sake of earning a paycheck must be good enough. Employee rewards must be progressive to continue being effective. After all – how many coffee mugs can actually fit on a desk?

The pros and cons of employee recognition show that it is better to not even have a program in place if it is going to be underfunded or not adequately run. Employees who work hard consistently should be recognized and their value appreciated. If this is not done, then it won’t be long before those hard-working employees find an organization that will recognize them for all of their great accomplishments.

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