Tough Year Financially? Recognition is Key

A female and male both smiling while they wear red shirts with the word Thankful across the front.
Innovative Thoughts

Tough Year Financially? Recognition is Key

Employee recognition will increase their loyalty to a company no matter what the bottom line looks like.

Businesses have good financial years and not as good financial years, either way your employees’ loyalty to your company should not depend on financial success, a bonus or gift.  Employees can feel appreciated every year, if recognition is a genuine thoughtful activity within a company. 

Why recognize?

“Everyone wants and needs it”

– Barbara A. Glanz

Quote can be found in Barbara’s book The Simple Truths of Appreciation – How each of us can choose to make a difference

Making people feel good makes you feel good.  It is as simple as that.

It has been scientifically proven that when a human feels good about themselves they become more confident in their ability to perform.  Therefore with that confidence comes an increase in productivity.  

Years of data on employee surveys have seen a correlation between how loyal (or engaged) an employee is to how a company makes them feel about themselves and the contribution they make.  Companies with loyal employees have lower turnover rates, better customer service and a higher rate of productivity. 

If we are going to be honest, from a business standpoint, the return on investment in employee recognition is very high, as the cost is low in order to see an increase in productivity. The ability to grow your business through a loyal and committed workforce is far easier than growing it with mediocre employees that do not care about the business.

Employee recognition is the timely, informal or formal acknowledgement of a person’s or team’s behavior, effort or business result that supports the organization’s goals and values, and which has clearly been beyond normal expectations.

Jun 1, 2020 – Why Employee Recognition is so Important – and what you can do about it.

What about reward? 

The act of rewarding is very transactional without recognition and appreciation for their work. 

Now we are not saying that rewarding people, particularly with the all mighty dollar is not effective in increasing productivity, because it can be.  However recognition does not have to be tied to reward to be effective. And reward should always be combined with appreciation or it is a short term fix without an emotional connection. 

Does your business need recognition or appreciation?

You may have noticed that we use both recognition and appreciation in our blog.  That is intentional as you need both. Or maybe a better way to say it is, you need a combination. 

recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something. 

Definitions from Oxford Languages

The difference between recognition and appreciation is subtle but impactful.  Recognition is associated with a result or accomplishment.  Appreciation involves the behaviour or characteristic person brings to the business.  Appreciation evokes a positive emotion that results in growing loyalty. 

When you combine a moment to recognize “top sales” with the qualities in the person that made them successful, the outcome is impactful. 

An example: Recognizing Top Sales 

“ Thank you for always taking time to listen to customers and understanding their needs before suggesting a product that is best for them.  By doing this you have achieved the top sales this month” 

In the example the person was appreciated for their ability to listen and understand, which led to them being very successful with sales. 

This combination of recognition and appreciation is powerful not only for the employee that received it but for others that crave being appreciated.  Keep in mind we all want and need appreciation. 

Until this moment you may not have thought about the difference between recognition and appreciation.  However now that you have. You can experiment with your own feelings. Remember a time when you were appreciated.  How did it make you feel? Did you stand up straighter? Was there a smile on your face? Did your confidence increase? Were you ready to stand up ready to take on the world

That is the power of appreciation.  If that is the outcome, why wouldn’t you ensure recognition combined with appreciation was part of everything you do? 

Sounds all good, but our business is small

Whether you have 1 employee or 20 being mindful of appreciating the qualities they bring to their work has an impact on them and your business.

Although we know many entrepreneurs feel they are not big enough to have a recognition culture. We would ask what does size have to do with it? Recognition and appreciation are a way of running the business and have nothing to do with size.  People who choose to recognize and appreciate others usually do it in all aspects of their life and not solely at work. 

Obviously big recognition platforms and formal awards galas are not the right solutions for a smaller business.  However there is lots of opportunity for a smaller sized business to create routines around recognition which involves everyone. 

6 simple way to recognize and appreciate
  • Post on social media awards for your team
    • This is so much fun.  Create awards that are based on the qualities your employees have and tell your customers about them through social media.
  • Make a word cloud that describe what that person brings to the team
    • This is one of our favourites.  Gather all the words that describe the qualities of the person you want to recognize.  Use an app like Wordsalad to create a beautiful word cloud.  Print, frame and give as a gift. They will love you forever. 
  • Write an e-book telling the story about the qualities of that person
    • For those super creative people out there.  Creating a personal story about how much someone means to you and your business, would be a fun way to recognize.  Who is not loyal after that?
  • Take a photo of something important to the person or of the person and have the entire staff sign it.
    • This is a great way to appreciate a team and bring them together.
  • A handwritten note and send it in the mail
    • In the world of email and direct messages, nothing beats a handwritten note.  Personalized to make the recipient feel great.  Arriving by mail is a special touch.
  •  Use a special day to be the reason to recognize
    • An example could be on Valentine’s day make a Valentine for each team member and what you appreciate about each of them.

If you are a business of one appreciate those who have helped, mentored or inspired you using any of the method above. 

Making recognition part of your business brand

So we know why to recognize.  Why appreciation creates loyalty. And a few ways to deliver recognition and appreciation.  Do we understand why it is important to make it a part of your brand? 

Employees are looking for a balance between work and home.  Loving where you work helps to create that balance. Therefore if employees see your company demonstrating its commitment to recognition, they may choose your business over another to work. 

Business brands infused with recognition

At Brilliantly Forward we recognize the work other entrepreneurs are doing through our website and in our social media.  The Shining Stars program helps (without benefit to us) other entrepreneurs get noticed, feel great about the contribution they are making and gain confidence to keep going. (we all need a bit of a boost some days)   Visit the our resources page for more information.

An emerging trend in social media for Sharing Saturday’s where businesses promote in their stories other businesses that follow them.  What a great surprise to be recognized by a fellow entrepreneur for the contribution you are making to the business community.  Being able to put a smile on someone else’s face is worth the minute or two it takes to publish something on social media. 

Whatever you do authenticity is king

The key to any form of recognition is authenticity.  Development of any recognition program or routine in your business must be authentic and genuine.  The recipient needs to feel genuinely appreciated, not because “someone had to be recognized”  Without authenticity trust can diminish.  If you can not recognize people with authenticity then you would be better off not doing it.  Keeping in mind the consequences of not doing it.

If you want to create a culture where people genuinely recognize people you want to ensure people feel enough creative license to do it in an authentic way. 

The most amazing things happen when people feel appreciated for those qualities they bring to work and understand the contribution they make each day. 

Let us know how you like to appreciate others in your life at or @brilliantlyfwd on Instagram.