BizTips SCORE – Employee Loyalty Begins with Recognition

Employee Loyalty Begins with Recognition

Aside from financial reward, there are a number of ways small business owners can engender employee loyalty and long-term commitment.   Recent Gallop surveys show that 65% of Americans received no praise or recognition in the past year.  It is even more important now, in this post pandemic period where employment options are abound.

According to Joan Shafer, EXCO, leaders can recognize three areas among their teams:  Competence/Achievements, Employee character, and Personal.  Managers get busy and forget (leaders don’t) and it can be embarrassing for employees to seek recognition. Many managers don’t recognize their employees because they get little recognition themselves or they may think that employees already know if they are doing a good job. Consider these simple ways to recognize team members.

Written:  Handwritten notes to a person demonstrating outstanding performance – a job “well done”. 

Verbal:  Start meetings by sharing a story of super performance, Even better, ask the employee(s) to share their story.  Use Tom Peters’ MBWA, managing by walking around and talking to high performers.  Make a congratulatory telephone call (not email).

Emails to spread the word:  Noting an individual’s performance in a regular internal email newsletter. 

1:1 Interaction: Help employees understand how their work contributes to the organization as a whole. 

Awards: Create an employee of the month or year award.  Make rewards significant so others will aspire to achieve that status. 

Non-tangible: Offer time off for training (paid), days or time off, appointment to special projects, or contribute to a nonprofit in the employee’s honor.

Some out-of-the-box ideas to recognize high contributing team members.  Dinner for two on you, Conduct a mini-midday vacation for high performers, Give an Amazon Prime Account,  Give a day of housecleaning, Send a high performing employee to a day at a local spa, Pay for a membership at a health & wellness club for a month, 6 months or even a year, 

In sum, Shafer believes that recognition is transformative for people to understand how their contribution adds to the success of the enterprise.

Contributed by Marc L. Goldberg, Certified Mentor. Sources:  Employee Recognition – A Lynchpin Value for Cultural Transformation, Mills and Shafer,; 40 Out-of-the-Box Employee Reward Ideas, YouEarnit,  Recognition Practices, Joan Shafer, Coaching Advisory Board, The ExCo Group (  For Free and confidential mentoring in management and leadership contact SCORE Cape Cod & the Islands. or [email protected]