Employee Recognition Is More Than a Carrot (100 times more!)

By March 11, 2024 No Comments
employee recognition is more than a carrot

Employee recognition is more than a carrot… what?

You know the old analogy of motivating someone with either a carrot (a reward, a prize) or a stick (discipline, punishment)? Sometimes, HR and organizational leadership thinks they can put some kind of employee recognition system in and hope that it does it’s job. They look to the employee recognition system as a tool to improve employee performance and strengthen the employer brand.

But, they don’t talk about it much. Employee recognition isn’t a solid part of leadership’s strategy, which means it is not a part of anyone’s strategy. Employees hear there is an employee recognition system in place but they don’t feel recognized. The employee recognition system is an under-used tool. It becomes neglected. If becomes ineffective.

Employee Recognition is more than a Carrot

Check out this blog post: The power of employee Recognition and a Carrot Culture. check out this book on Amazon: A Carrot a Day: A Daily Dose of Recognition for your Employees. Both great ideas. I especially like the idea of a daily dose of employee recognition.

But I want to emphasize the point that if you think of employee recognition as a carrot you’ll see it as a task you need to do, and an expense you have to pay to keep your employees happy.

I want to invite you to think about employee recognition (and employee rewards) as part of your organizational DNA. Will it be something you put on a task list? Sure. Will it be associated with expenses? Sometimes, but it doesn’t have to be.

Stop thinking of it that way and start thinking of it the way your employees want you to think of it. They want to be seen, heard, and valued.

Is your current employee recognition system helping them be seen, heard, and valued? Or do they think, “Oh, nice, another golf shirt with the company logo. I’ll never wear this.” Or, from my own experience, “Oh, nice, an ice cream maker. I’m sure my kids will like this,” but then find out, on my next paycheck, that I was taxed for the value of that ice cream maker that I never asked for.

I didn’t feel seen, heard, or valued, even though it was a nice gesture.

What if, in the next team or company meeting, a leader talked about the successes in my project, or the value I brought to the organization? What if they talked about how I handled a particularly sensitive situation with finesse and professionalism? Now that would have made me feel seen, heard, and valued! That would have made me feel more a part of the team, and want to do more good things for the organization.

The ice cream maker was nice (while it lasted), but it wasn’t tied to me, my job, or my performance. And, I got taxed on it (I know I already said that but that was a surprise).

I’m not saying to not give ice cream makers. Maybe that would be the perfect recognition and reward! But personalize it. Make it relevant to the person or what they did. More, though, make sure that you accompany the thing with the right words and messaging, so they know that you value them.

Employee recognition is more than a carrot… it is the soil, the sun, the nutrition, the water. To make employee recognition a part of your organizational DNA you need to talk about it all the time. You need to practice it. You need to create a culture where managers and peers are looking for opportunities to recognize and reward one another. Not in a you-scratch-my-back, I’ll-scratch-yours, but in a sincere, genuine way.

Should that include an employee recognition system? Absolutely! I’d be remiss if I said to do it in your head, on complicated spreadsheets, or using a file cabinet when there is something so easy and effective as the Snowfly employee recognition tools.

But whatever you use, please make it a part of your DNA. Your employees will know the difference. And they’ll know, and like, that at your organization, employee recognition is more than a carrot.

Jason Alba

Jason Alba

I'm passionate about building great cultures. I love respect in the workforce, especially respect that is earned. I love strategic management, leadership, and vision. I love healthy companies through profitability. I love employee engagement, employee performance, and employee satisfaction. I love how Snowfly can help YOUR organization work towards all of these things.

Leave a Reply