Are you recognising your team? 


Recognition matters. Often, recognition is paired with reward in corporate programs but the two concepts, while linked, are distinct from one another. Once leaders start to implement recognition authentically into their routine, it’s easy to see the impact. 

Humans crave recognition 

At the heart of all the work we do as humans, we just want to know that our work is appreciated and valued. From the smallest of tasks to those that take a little more effort, everything your team does works towards the larger goals and missions of your organisation and showing each person regular recognition is important. 

Without it, team members can be left feeling as though the work they do isn’t valued or important to the organisation. It’s not too hard to see how disengagement can stem from a lack of recognition and lead to frustration and high employee turnover. While your team doesn’t need a gold star for every tiny task they carry out, it’s crucial that they aren’t left wondering if their efforts are worth it. 

Many organisations have reward and recognition programs in place but there are two huge mistakes they make when setting these programs up: 

  1. Using a tenure-based system – It’s natural to celebrate when team members reach 5, 10, 20 or more years with the organisation but these systems cannot be the only form of recognition from management. For any employee, it means a long time between recognition but this approach can be even more frustrating for Millennial and Gen Z team members, who are more likely to move around in positions and organisations before they even hit the 5 year mark. Recognition earlier and more regularly could be the secret to keeping younger teams together for longer.

  2. Spending large amounts on incentive programs – leadership teams are often guilty of creating programs that have a lot of bells and whistles but lack meaningful impact. While these incentive programs can look great on paper and may work for some teams, in practice they leave a lot to be desired and take the ‘thought’ out of the recognition process. 

When it comes to recognition, think simple

Your team works hard and they deserve acknowledgement of all the work they do. This acknowledgement doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to happen. 

Leaders should think about verbally recognising their team’s work regularly and combining it with written recognition so that team members can have something tangible – whether it’s an email or a handwritten note – to revisit. Don’t stress if your handwriting isn’t neat or you don’t have the budget to afford gifts to go along with your words. For most team members your words will be more valuable than any gift you give them.

As Easter rolls around, it’s a great example of a time of year where you can pop Easter eggs on your team’s desk with a small note acknowledging their work in the first quarter of the year. It’s affordable, it puts a smile on their face and it reminds them that their work is valued by their leader and the wider organisation. 

Are you ready to harness the power of recognition? People Make the Difference can help. To find out more, visit or call us on 0412 333 415. Try our online leadership training videos – $99 for complete access. Great value if you’re committed to growing your leadership potential.