In conversation recently with a client, we explored cultural barriers to sustaining organisational change and the conversation moved to the topic of recognition.  

What is recognition?

Recognition is a constructive response; it is also a judgement made about a persons contribution, reflecting not only on work performance but also personal dedication and engagement. Recognition is engaged in on a regular and/or ad hoc basis, expressed formally or informally, individually or collectively, privately or publically and monetary or non-financial (Brun and  Dugas, International journal of HRM (19) 2008).  Employee recognition is the acknowledgement of an individual and/or team’s behaviour, effort and accomplishment in support of the organisation as a whole (HR Council). Awarding employees for achieving planned objectives, encouraging repeat performance and higher achievement by all.   Hertzberg’s  Motivation Hygiene theory revealed certain characteristics of a job are  consistently related to job satisfaction.     McClelland identified three motivators that all humans have:   In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, two of the most valuable  psychological needs we have as human beings are:
  • The need to be appreciated
  • The need to belong
Compensation and benefits support a fundamental need, but recognition and career advancement support our higher level psychological needs.  

So, why is recognition important and also an enabler for sustainable change?

  • It lets employees know their work and contribution is valued and appreciated
  • It gives employees a sense of ownership and belonging in their place of work
  • Improves moral and employee engagement
  • Helps build a supportive work environment and encourages team work
  • Increases employee motivation
  • Improves retention.
  Recognition has 4 main practices and is characterised by 5 types of interactions.   Your recognition should align to all the practices and types of interactions, to ensure you are recognising everyone.
  Thank you for reading and I trust it brought enlightenment. Natasha   About the Author Dr. Natasha Winkler-Titus is an Organizational Psychologist in private practice; teach OD and Change theory and practice; supervise internships and serves as a board member for the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology- SA. She enjoys the outdoors, run the occasional half marathon with her husband and mine for opportunities to impact human lives.