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"You Like Me! You Really Like Me!"

The Academy Awards honor Hollywood's elite, but those walking the red carpet aren't the only ones receiving kudos for a job well done. A new study reveals that money isn't the only thing motivating employees.

A new survey suggests there's no lack of praise around the office, with more than one-third of employees saying their employers are very effective at acknowledging employee contributions. Three-quarters (76 percent) of employees surveyed saying their companies' efforts to recognize employee achievements are at least "somewhat effective."

The survey was developed by the Creative Group, a specialized staffing service that provides marketing, advertising, creative and web professionals on a project basis.

"Most businesses realize that it takes more than a steady paycheck to inspire outstanding employee performance," said Tracey Fuller, executive director of the Creative Group. "Staff members who know their contributions make a difference and are rewarded are more engaged and, ultimately, more productive on the job."

Fuller noted that while many professionals rated their company's recognition programs highly, one in five signaled their firms could use improvement in this area. "Organizations that fail to adequately acknowledge staff achievements could see rising turnover as the economy picks up and more job opportunities become available," she said.

Fuller offered the following tips for recognizing employee efforts:

  • Break the chain. Seasoned employees often require less encouragement than other workers and, as a result, may receive infrequent praise from their superiors. If you're a manager, don't pass this behavior along. By regularly recognizing the efforts of individuals at all levels, you show appreciation and encourage your team to do the same.
  • Make a sincere effort. Praise needs to be genuine to be effective. Be thoughtful in your compliments or they will lose their meaning.
  • Think outside the bucks. While money is a powerful motivator, it's not the only way to acknowledge extra effort. More affordable options include sending a hand-written thank-you note, mentioning a star performer in a company newsletter or staff meeting, or giving an employee a day off.
  • Reward the right behavior. Make sure formal rewards programs are tied to actions that are most important to the business, such as safety or problem-solving.

For more information about incentives and recognition programs, visit our Safety Incentives and Recognition Safety Zone.

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