Human Resources: Recognize, reward, repeat

Q. How do we make rewards and recognition a habit?
Monday, July 25, 2016

A. It seems like such an easy phrase to say and a common sense reaction, but all too often it is a phrase that isn’t used enough, not only in our personal lives but also in the workplace. Over the course of my HR career, I have discovered one truth about all employees at every level of any organization and industry: People want to feel appreciated and reassured the work they do and the effort they put in is appreciated and noticed. So how do we do that? How do we make rewards and recognition a part of our everyday work lives a habit?

To start, reward does not always need to be monetary. Although a monetary reward is nice and is well received, it is not the only type of reward. Face-to-face interaction, such as a thank you or public acknowledgement for a job well done, can mean more then a monetary gift. Another impactful way to recognize someone is a personal, handwritten thank you note that comes from that employee’s manager/supervisor or even an executive of the company.  

Another way to show appreciation could be flexible work hours or time off. This is universally valued by employees, offering them flexibility in their day and allowing them to customize their work and life balance.   

Regardless of the type of reward or recognition, make sure to tie in not just the purpose of the praise, but the performance or attribute the employee excelled in. We want employees to continue their stellar performance. When an employee does a good job on a project or presentation, or demonstrates excellent customer service, reward them in the moment or as soon as you become aware of it. Timing is everything! Do them frequently, make it a habit, and reap the reward of a happier work environment. hme

Melissa Seitz is an HR generalist at Medical Service Company. Reach her at