Are you getting the recognition you deserve? Are you a master recognizer? It is New Year’s resolution season and I suggest you consider maximizing your recognition efforts regardless of your role at work, in the community and at home.


The value of recognition in the workplace has long been touted but often dismissed as a soft HR issue. The data suggests otherwise as it is a hard line business and organizational issue not to be taken lightly with significant impact on both individual and organizational performance.

The link between recognition and employee engagement is a well proven one and the link between engagement and virtually every meaningful metric in organizational life is also pretty clear. Nudge your engagement scores up and whatever you measure will likely move in the right direction, be it profitability, productivity, absenteeism, workplace accidents, you name it.

It is my observation that many employees feel unrecognized and many managers feel ill-equipped to recognize employees. I also believe it’s about our ability, and ultimately our accountability, for going beyond the basics to something more meaningful. As HR generalist Teena Robichaud

'Recognition is beyond thank-yous … it is about saying something when you catch people doing things right.' - Teena Robichaud, HR generalist with Imperial Manufacturing Group

from the highly successful New Brunswick based Imperial Manufacturing Group said to me “Recognition is beyond thank-yous … it is about saying something when you catch people doing things right, it’s about making people feel valued and appreciated on an ongoing basis."

Clearly the recognition recipe needs to go well beyond “years of service awards” and the “employee of the month.” According to Cindy Ventrice, author of the 2005 book Make Their Day: Employee Recognition that Works, effective employee recognition is split three ways: 50 per cent from the boss, 30 per cent from peers and 20 per cent from employer programs.

Technology is playing a huge role with automated and mobile friendly applications that “gamify” recognition and enable bosses and employees to recognize others, make it fun and potentially earn points and prizes. I suggest it’s not just about the swag or apps, it’s about feeling acknowledged and the boss has the biggest responsibility and biggest potential impact with or without the use of an app.

Hopefully your workplace has a meaningful recognition program and, more importantly, a manager who understands the impact recognition has on motivation and acts accordingly. If not, consider giving the boss or HR a copy of one of recognition guru Bob Nelson’s bestsellers on  inexpensive and creative recognition ideas as a New Year’s gift or direct them to one of many helpful websites or firms that specialize in recognition. Failing that, I advise taking recognition matters into your own hands.

I believe everyone has a duty to make their colleagues, manager, and clients feel valued and appreciated. It is a daily practice, exercised by listening intently, involving others and providing meaningful and authentic feedback regardless of our role or title. It’s amazing how contagious recognition becomes and perhaps eventually the team, the boss and maybe an entire workplace culture, can maximize their efforts well beyond the New Year’s resolution season.

As for my New Year’s resolution … as well as working on being a master recognizer, I’m trying out the “Pomodoro” time management technique, whether I get recognized for it or not. Happy New Year.