Recognize, Reinforce and Reward
the Right Behavior
By Gregory P. Smith
It was Mark Twain who once said; "I can live for two months on a good compliment." Money may attract people to the front door, but something else has to keep them from going out the back. Many times employees say they are quitting because of a better paying job elsewhere. However, statistics show that the number one reason people quit their jobs is a lack of recognition and praise.
Reward and recognition is not just a nice thing to do, but a critical element in the management toolkit. People have a basic human need to feel appreciated and recognition programs help meet that need.
The second aspect of this science is management must create consequences for the behavior important for business success.
A “behavior” could be showing up for work on time, having perfect attendance or going over and beyond the call of duty for customers or any other important behavior. A workplace is one that develops systems and processes to reward, recognize and sustain those important behaviors.
Peer recognition is an example of a reward and recognition tool. It is one of the easiest and most effective programs to initiate. Peer recognition is where the employees have the power to reward each other for doing a good job. Peer recognition works because employees themselves know whom works hard and deserves recognition. Managers can’t be everywhere all the time; therefore, the employees are in the best position to catch people doing the right things. Also, workers usually value each other’s influence more than their supervisor’s—peer pressure.
I was working with a client where we developed a program called “My Shining Star!” Workers have access to an unlimited supply of “My Shining Star!” forms to hand-write a little note about the good job their co-workers did. On the back of the form, the store lists the behaviors they want to recognize including:
- Demonstrates friendly, caring service
- Shows flexibility
- Demonstrates teamwork
- Helps to save money
When the employee writes up their coworker, the forms go to the main office where they post these forms on a central bulletin board for all employees to see. For added recognition, the store formally recognizes the employee who received the highest number of forms at the end of each month. That person receives a special gift from the store manager. Then all the forms given out during the month are placed into a basket and names are randomly drawn for additional prizes. The forms are read aloud and recognition given to both the awardee, as well as the person submitting the form.
To reinforce what I said earlier, reward and recognition is not just something “nice” to do. The goal is to create a work environment that attracts, keeps and motivates them to stay with you and not leave for your competition. This requires true leadership and a new management philosophy. Click here for more motivational ideas and tips to energize your workforce.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gregory P. Smith shows businesses how to build productive and profitable work environments that attract, keep and motivate their workforce. He is the author of the book, Here Today Here Tomorrow: Transforming Your Workforce from High-Turnover to High-Retention. He speaks at conferences, conducts management training and is the President of a management consulting firm called Chart Your Course International located in Conyers, Georgia. Phone him at 770-860-9464.
To check out his website that is packed with information you need to grow your business, I highly recommend visiting his website at
Chart Your Course International