Combine three key types of appreciation for best effect

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A combination of celebrating service, rewarding results, and encouraging effort is most effective

Organisations should combine three key types of appreciation for the greatest effect, according to findings from the O.C. Tanner Institute seen exclusively by HR magazine.

The Recognition in the Workplace study found that there are three elements to recognition that should be combined: celebrating service, rewarding results and encouraging effort.

The firm surveyed more than 1,000 HR professionals from 12 countries. It found that in organisations using just one strand of appreciation only 29.8% of HR decision makers thought that the organisation saw an increase in organisational pride as a result. However, among those who employ all three elements 74.6% noticed an increase.

Similarly, just 31.5% of HR leaders who delivered a single type of appreciation at their organisations believed there was an increase in meaningful work because of their recognition programme, compared with 70.4% of HR leaders who use all three forms of appreciation.

The report defined celebrating service as, for example, awarding symbolic items to employees after they have been working a set amount of time. Rewarding results was defined as recognition for ‘above and beyond’ performance that accompanies big wins and project completions. Encouraging effort was defined as recognition for ongoing effort and progress, which is often informal and in the form of a written note, an email, or a sincere verbal thank you.

Ian Feaver, European sales and marketing director at O.C. Tanner, suggested firms take a fresh look at recognition. “Most organisations understand the importance of appreciating their staff in order to improve engagement and increase motivation," he said. "However, very few realise that a narrow approach to appreciation doesn’t achieve the best results. This research lifts the lid on the secret to recognition success.

“The findings highlight the importance of not being narrow-minded when appreciating staff. To achieve a great culture with engaged and hard-working employees, HR leaders must champion a diverse recognition programme that employs all three pillars of appreciation.”

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