Get Creative in Employee Recognition

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Work Force Challenges in 2011

Despite the improving economy, we'll continue to struggle with difficult work force challenges in 2011.

Saying his agency got clobbered in the Federal Employee Viewpoint survey, a manager in the U.S. Department of Education seeks ways to recognize and reward employees.


Worker dissatisfaction is reportedly running high in the private as well as public sectors after the recession, and employee retention has become a big issue, especially in the federal government. A recent report by Booz Allen Hamilton and the Partnership for Public Service gave some solid ideas for retaining workers, making the point that you really have to reward your high performers.


That's especially true with the federal pay freeze in force-and also since a recent survey found federal workers already had fewer opportunities for raises and promotions.


In the Washington Post article, Tom Fox of the Partnership for Public Service says the best recognition and rewards programs:

  1. recognize results that align with the agency's goals.
  2. clearly define the results required to receive an award.
  3. allow any employee an opportunity to receive recognition, but the rewards only go to those who truly excel.
  4. honor teams as well as individuals.
  5. offer a variety of rewards reflecting what people really value, such as an award, cash or time off. In this post, I wrote about workers' different motivations, which can call for different forms of recognition or reward.


Fox suggests recruiting a cross-section of representatives at your organization and asking them to get creative. He adds that peer awards, such as cash or kitsch (such as an ugly trophy) have become increasingly popular.