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Employee Recognition

What Motivates People?

"Providing workers with recognition and respect can make a world of difference in getting the best efforts out of them, keeping them, and helping you develop a reputation for treating employees in a way that helps attract talent to work for you and your organization."

- Bob Nelson, Ph.
1501 Ways to Recognize Employees

Low Cost or No Cost

Recognition Ideas

Excerpts from

1501 Ways to Reward Employees

by Robert Nelson, Ph.D.

1501 Ways to Recognize Employees
  1. Noreen Wahl, manager of Human Resources for Sherpa Corporation in San Jose, CA, emphasizes that it's not the award as much as the recognition. "We purchased an old bowling trophy that was ugly, gaudy, and huge to use as a "pass around" award for spectactular results achieved. Each recipient proudly displayed it while it was theirs."
  2. Agencies of QSource, the Memphis-based nonprofit health care management expert, post thank-you letters from patients on a "Brag Board." They have also painted a bare-branched tree on a wall. Every time someone does something exceptional or recieves a letter of thanks from a patient or family that staff member's name and the date are put onto a golden leaf and attached to a branch.
  3. Guidelines for Effective Praise
    • As Soon
    • As Sincere
    • As Specific
    • As Personal
    • As Positive
    • As Practical
    • ...as possible
  4. At Citibank in Oakland, CA, Customers (and other employees) can reward and thank employees with Thumbs-Up certificates, which can be exchanged for merchandise. Early in the program, many workers were so pleased by the recognition that instead of redeming the certificates immediately, they proudly displayed them on their walls.
  5. Hyler Bracey, former president and CEO of the Atlanta Consulting Group, places five coins in one of his pockets each day. During the day, he transfers a coin to his other pocket every time he recognizes an employee for good work. That technique has helped him make praise a habit.
  6. Nikki Burns, a manager at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, OH tries to say thank you to every employee as he or she leaves for the day.
  7. Employees who go the extra mile at KFC Corporation, are presented with a "Floppy Chicken Award," a thank you note, and a $100 gift certificate. Former president and CEO David Novak started the program when he flew into an awardee's city and personally presented him with a rubber chicken that he pulled out of a crumbled brown-paper sack. A photo of the presentation is on permanent display on the "Wall of Leaders," which is a prominent area at corporate headquarters.