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A Leader’s Competitive Advantage..…. The Power of Employee Recognition. Business Case. A 2001 study at Prudential Financial showed that “not feeling appreciated for the job they did” was one of the top 10 reasons employees left the company.

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a leader s competitive advantage

A Leader’s Competitive Advantage..…

The Power of EmployeeRecognition

business case
Business Case

A 2001 study at Prudential Financial showed that “not feeling appreciated for the job they did” was one of the top 10 reasons employees left the company.

A 2002 Gallup Survey found that recognition and praise ranked fourth among the twelve dimensions that consistently correlated with workgroups that have higher employee retention, higher customer satisfaction, higher productivity and higher profits.

A Leader’s Competitive Advantage

business case3
Business Case
  • High-Quality Work Environment
  • Purposeful
  • Positive
  • Supportive
  • Improvement-focused
  • Employee centered

Work environments and relationships have a significant day to day impact on performance

High level of organizational performance, customer service and innovation

High level of employee satisfaction

High level of teamwork, cooperation, and employee initiative and creativity

British Columbia Public Service Agency

A Leader’s Competitive Advantage

informal vs formal recognition
Informal vs. Formal Recognition

It is important to have a mix of both informaland a formal recognition for your employees.

The focus of this training program is onhowandwhento offerinformalrecognition. This should happen regularly and more frequently than formal recognition.

A Leader’s Competitive Advantage

emotional intelligence
Emotional Intelligence

“The leader’s ability to communicate appreciation is a make-it-or-break-it point in the success of many organizations.”

Changing the Corporate Landscape Jean Otte

“Managers who are most successful spend less time thinking about recognition itself and more time thinking about how they can help the people they work with.”

Make Their Day!: Employee Recognition That Works

Cindy Ventrice

A Leader’s Competitive Advantage

emotional intelligence6
Emotional Intelligence

What distinguishes the outstanding leader from the merely adequate?

Emotional intelligence – a powerful combination of self-management skills and the ability to work with others.

Daniel Goleman

“What Makes a Leader”

A Leader’s Competitive Advantage

stars program for employee recognition
STARS Program for Employee Recognition
  • S = Sincere – For a gesture of recognition to be effective it needs to come from the heart and be sincere
  • T = Timely – It is critical to be timely in recognizing the achievements of your employees
  • A = Articulate – Make sure to clearly articulate the specific achievement or accomplishment for which you are recognizing your employee
  • R = Receptive – Be receptive to learning more about your employees and their motivations so you are aware of what types of recognition will be most rewarding to them.
  • S = Spontaneous – Be spontaneous in your recognition in order to ensure it is happening often, and in natural and varied ways.

A Leader’s Competitive Advantage

s sincere say what you mean mean what you say
S = Sincere… Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say
  • Sincerity means that managers trust their employees and value what each is capable of contributing

By recognizing your employees you are helping them to stay motivated. You are letting them know that they are valued and that they are contributing to the overall goals of the company.

A Leader’s Competitive Advantage

t timely witness it recognize it
T = Timely… Witness It, Recognize It
  • The recognition will lose its meaning if too much time passes between the accomplishment and the recognition

"Recognition is something a manager should be doing all the time--it's a running dialogue with people.“

Ron Zemke, Senior Editor of Training Magazine

A Leader’s Competitive Advantage

a articulate be specific about the reason for recognition
A = Articulate… Be Specific About the Reason for Recognition
  • Be very specific with your employees about what they accomplished that warrants the recognition
  • Establish goals and metrics that merit rewards and stick to those guidelines

"This business of making another person feel good in the unspectacular course of his/her daily comings and goings is, in my view, the very essence of leadership.“

CEO Irwan Federman

A Leader’s Competitive Advantage

r receptive know what motivates your employees
R = Receptive… Know What Motivates Your Employees
  • Do not assume “one size fits all”
  • You need to know what motivates each of your employees

"That personal touch—the personal thank-you, whether through a phone call or a quick e-mail—is so important.“

Sylvia Kronwald, Dow Chemical

A Leader’s Competitive Advantage

s spontaneous do what feels right
S = Spontaneous… Do What Feels Right
  • Being spontaneous in giving recognition ensures it is happening in natural and varied ways

"Recognition is so easy to do and so inexpensive to distribute that there is simply no excuse for not doing it.“ Rosabeth Moss Kanter, author and HBS Professor

A Leader’s Competitive Advantage

successful recognition
Successful Recognition
  • To successfully give recognition you must:
    • Be comfortable providing it
    • Agree with the method of recognition
    • Agree the employee’s attitude & accomplishment merit recognition

A Leader’s Competitive Advantage

virtual recognition

“Realize that employees at other locations or who telecommute from their homes already feel they are second-class citizens.”

Bob Nelson, PhD, author and motivational speaker

Virtual Recognition
  • Provide similar types of recognition and rewards that you provide for those employees who are in the same location
    • Determine motivational needs and build on it
    • Ask what types of recognition they want
    • Utilize the STARS Program

A Leader’s Competitive Advantage

virtual recognition15
Virtual Recognition
  • Utilize every communication method for delivery
  • Video Conference
  • Interoffice Mail
  • Overnight Mail
  • E-mail
  • Telephone
  • Meetings
  • Ask a local manager/peer to present in your absence

A Leader’s Competitive Advantage

how to provide recognition
How to provide recognition?
  • Bring in unexpected treats
  • Email to a person’s supervisor
  • Hand written thank you notes/post-it note
  • Greet employees when you see them for the 1st time each day
  • Have lunch or coffee with your employees

A Leader’s Competitive Advantage

what can you do
What can you do?
  • Ask your manager to recognize your team’s outstanding accomplishments
  • Ask an employee for feedback on a project or idea
  • Recognize your peers, not just direct reports
  • Plan for spontaneous recognition

A Leader’s Competitive Advantage

results effort driven awards
Results & Effort Driven Awards
  • Friday Fan Mail
  • Pay it Forward Award
  • ABCD Award (Above the Call of Duty)
  • Behind the Scenes Award
  • Mr. Goodbar
  • LifeSaver Award
  • Traveling departmental trophy

A Leader’s Competitive Advantage

recognition results
Recognition Results
  • Increased employee confidence
  • Expecting the best
  • Links what you say as a manager to what you do as a manager
  • Builds trust in you as a manager
  • Shows you are paying attention
  • Helps employees feel empowered to continue doing the right things

Most employees do the right things most of the time - so there are lots of opportunities for recognition

A Leader’s Competitive Advantage

if you are doing it right
If You Are Doing it Right

Your “confirmation” contacts should out-number your coaching & correction comments by 2 to 1

(National Assoc. for Employee Recognition)

People should tell you that you made their day.

A Leader’s Competitive Advantage

planning for spontaneous recognition
Planning for Spontaneous Recognition
  • Contents of your “STARS Recognition Box”
    • Hints
    • Resources
    • Examples

It takes 21 days of repeated behavior to form a habit

Giving personal praise is a learned skill…

It doesn’t come naturally for everyone because it requires managers to make a connection with their employees on a personal level.

A Leader’s Competitive Advantage

culture change committing to change
Culture Change -Committing to Change
  • Gain management buy-in/support
  • Budget accordingly for the awards
  • Communication is key to sustaining
  • Consistency – award ALL
  • Experiment and learn by trial-and-error

A Leader’s Competitive Advantage

make it a habit and track it
Make It a Habit and Track It!

A Leader’s Competitive Advantage

poll your employees

Learn How Your Employees

Like To Be Rewarded

Poll Your Employees

A Leader’s Competitive Advantage



Recognize Someone

“Make it a habit

and track it!”

A Leader’s Competitive Advantage

measuring change
Measuring Change
  • Survey employees 1-2 months after inception to assess if they are receiving more informal recognition
  • Survey managers delivering recognition 1-2 months after inception to assess if they are delivering more informal recognition
  • Review meritocracy changes in firm employee surveys

A Leader’s Competitive Advantage

for additional information
For Additional Information…

You can purchase recognition items from the following websites:

  • www.Baudville.com
  • www.gneil.com

You can learn more about employee recognition from these websites:

  • www.recognition.org
  • www.nfib.com
  • www.nelson-motivation.com
  • www.humanresources.about.com/od/rewardrecognition
  • www.workforce.com

You can learn more about employee recognition from these books:

  • 1001 Ways to Recognize Employees – Bob Nelson
  • Make Their Day – Cindy Ventrice
  • 101 Ways to Reward Team Members for $20 (or Less!) - Kevin Aguanno

A Leader’s Competitive Advantage


STARS Informal Recognition Program

For questions, call:

Renee Mailhot

John Deere

309-748-0845 (work)

309-230-6445 (cell)



Gillian Saunders

Siemens Power Generation


407-736-5412 (work)

407-810-5984 (cell)


Misty Habib

Merrill Lynch


904-218-1686 (work)

917-523-4021 (cell)


Information was gathered from the following sources:

  • www.gneil.com
  • www.Baudville.com
  • www.nfib.com
  • www.recognition.org
  • 1001 Ways to Recognize Employees – Bob Nelson
  • Whale Done - Ken Blanchard
  • FISH! - Stephen Lundin, Harry Paul & John Christensen
  • Oh, the Places You’ll Go – Dr. Suess
  • Make Their Day – Cindy Ventrice
  • Changing the Corporate Landscape - Jean Otte
  • “Leaving a Legacy” - Kenny Funk
  • "Long-Distance Recognition” – Bob Nelson
  • 101 Ways to Reward Team Members for $20 (or Less!) - Kevin Aguanno
  • The Emotional Intelligence Activity Book: 50 Activities for Promoting EQ at Work - Adele B. Lynn
  • Encouraging the Heart: A Leader’s Guide to Rewarding and Recognizing Others – James Kouzes & Barry Posner

A Leader’s Competitive Advantage