7 warning signs your approach to recognition isn’t working

So you’re ahead of the curve. Your company has a system in place to increase engagement through recognition. You recognize employees for years of service, and even throw pizza parties for the team after big wins. But something doesn’t feel right. If you have been noticing any of the following, you need a more effective employee recognition solution.

1.When thanked for the use of her stapler, your coworker says that’s the most appreciation she’s received all month.

Recognition should be given more than once a year. In fact, when done right, it should happen once a week. Employees should be thanked for specific activities in line with your company’s core values. “Care, Share & Be Fair” is a perfectly respectable company value, but sharing a stapler does not likely impact business goals. Regular and meaningful recognition reinforces positive behavior and increases employee engagement.

2.Your employees stop talking when you enter the room.

Feeling paranoid? Like everyone was just talking about you? You might be making it up, but maybe not. Gossip starts when disengagement happens, so don’t give them anything to complain about. Make sure you are supporting the managers of your organization and giving them the proper tools to stop complaining before it begins.

3. You find passive-aggressive sticky notes around the office.

Communication is important, but there are right and wrong ways to do it. By creating a corporate culture that encourages open discussion—positive and negative—you will empower your employees to ask for what they need, tell others what they want, and put their own dishes in the dishwasher. Communication is built on trust and respect, and building a culture of functional communication is the best way to get everyone talking face to face. Plus you’ll save a bundle on sticky notes.

4. Employees once known for their work ethic start putting in banker’s hours, minus a couple.

Don’t get me wrong, I have the appropriate amount of respect for the banking industry. That being said, when people who were typically working from eight to seven start showing up at ten and missing days entirely, start worrying. Recognizing employees for their hard work, consistently and authentically, is an important part of inspiring them to keep doing it.

5. You have plenty of open job posts and hardly any internal referrals.

If your current employees aren’t submitting referrals, your office may not the most desirable place to work. By supporting your employees and recognizing consistently, you can build a stronger team that’s inspired to sing your praises, bring in top talent, and reduce recruiting cost. Strong recruiting programs can easily be built on Web-based recognition programs, building your team and your brand.

6. When asked to identify the company values, the most common answer is “We have values?”

Posting the list of company values on your website does not necessarily mean they mean anything to your employees. In order to get your staff living the company values every day, you need to recognize the behaviors that reinforce those values. By instilling the company values on a personal level, you get the whole team working in the same direction—which means a whole lot more than some list.

7. Top talent is leaving unexpectedly, and quickly.

In this economy, top talent is hard to come by and even harder to keep. And according to Harvard Business Review, the best performers across all job types are roughly four times more productive as average performers. To keep top performers, you need more than salaries and titles to keep them engaged. Build engagement through recognition and keep you best people longer.

Did we miss something? Share your warning signs or every day recognition tips in the comment section.