The question isn't whether recognition works or not – it does.

The question isn't whether recognition works or not – it does.

However, many employee recognition programs still fall flat.

The research, statistics, analysis, reports, and case studies demonstrate over and over again that recognition and appreciation play a huge role in creating a great work place.  Despite this, many recognition programs still fall flat.  Why?  Let me offer three reasons:

  1. Some leaders really aren't comfortable giving recognition.  Often unintentionally, a leader will attempt to offer praise or recognition that simply comes out wrong.  Indeed, the effort is deemed a waste by both giver & recipient (though neither one will share that with the other).
  2. Some managers intentionally use recognition as a weapon -- treating those they favor with special awards (particularly to attack other high performers that they may not like as much).  Such bosses are ego-driven and demand deference without much regard for others.
  3. Many awards are given without any presentation or link to the effort and work accomplished in order to receive it.  While recognition is an amazing tool to connect with others, it is only as effective as we make it.  If we aren't connecting with people, than neither is the award that simply shows up on the recipient's desk.

We must remember that in our effort to make recognition convenient and easy to do that it is still a human experience. What are some other reasons you believe recognition still falls flat, and what would you suggest to improve the situation?