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How Can I Recognize Their Good Performance If I Can’t Demonstrate Financially That We Appreciate Good Work?

I don’t have a budget for awards to recognize people. How can I recognize their good performance if I can’t demonstrate financially that we appreciate good work?

Money is only one of your options in recognizing good performance. The most important concept about recognition comes directly from the word itself—‘‘to recognize.’’ When you recognize something, you are aware of it, you are not ignoring it, you’re paying attention to it. That is the heart of recognition—letting people know that you are aware that they performed well and that you appreciate their good work. Recognition can be symbolized in many ways, but it always starts with awareness.

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Managers have a huge supply of tools available to them to use in recognizing good performance. Let’s take a look at some that are easily available, that don’t cost very much money, and that everyone seems to like:

  • Saying a simple and sincere ‘‘Thank you’’
  • Asking an employee’s advice about how to improve the department’s effectiveness
  • Eating lunch together
  • Giving an employee a more desirable job assignment
  • Writing your boss a memo about the great job she did
  • Letting an employee take an extended lunch
  • Forwarding a newspaper or magazine article to a subordinate
  • Giving a subordinate an advance copy of a new company brochure or advertisement
  • Arranging for an employee to be given a supply of business cards
  • Writing a quick ‘‘Thanks!’’ on a Post-it Note and sticking it on a colleague’s phone
  • Introducing an employee to a visitor and explaining how her
  • work contributes to the company’s success
  • Making a ridiculous plaque and conducting a silly presentation ceremony
  • Writing the employee a favorable memo and sending a copy to her personnel file

Notice that many of the above items actually use the job as a motivator. Allowing a person to have a more desirable job assignment, or arranging for an individual to get his own business cards, or permitting an employee her choice of tasks to do, can be more valuable than any trinket.

But the most important motivator is the words that come out of your mouth. Saying ‘‘Thanks’’ or ‘‘Well Done!’’ or ‘‘I really appreciate that’’ is a powerful source of recognition and reinforcement.