Beyond Atta-Boy: 5 Tips to Maximize Employee Recognition

January 2, 2019 06:00 AM
A simple acknowledgment of a job well done can pay dividends, in terms of employee engagement and retention.

A simple acknowledgment of a job well done can pay dividends, in terms of employee engagement and retention.

“Praise and recognition are essential to successful management,” says Mel Kleiman, president of Humetrics, a human resource consulting firm. “People want to be respected and valued by others for their contributions. Everyone feels the need to be recognized as an individual or member of a group and to feel a sense of achievement for work well done—or even for a valiant effort.”

Kleiman says a “pat on the back” costs nothing, promotes employee retention and makes both the giver and the receiver feel great.

Here are five ways, Kleiman suggests, to maximize the bang you get for your employee recognition buck.

  1. Make it fun and/or funny: I love to give people a stuffed Beanie Baby eagle or turkey. (Both get a great response and it’s amazing how long they will keep them on their desk or pass them on to their coworkers.)
  2. Make it simple: It always amazes me what a gold star will get you. Just try putting one on an employee’s badge. Everyone wants a gold star.
  3. Make it personal: Forget the company key chain or hat; make sure it’s something they want or need.
  4. Make it timely: Do it as soon as you can after they do something great.
  5. Make it specific: Tell the person exactly what behavior or results they are being rewarded for, so they keep it up and so your other employees know what you find p

At the 2019 Top Producer Seminar, which takes place Jan. 15-17 in Chicago, Kleiman will present “Tools, Tips & Tricks for Hiring & Retaining Top Talent.” Learn more and register now at


Mel Kleiman



Top Producer Seminar

Jan. 15-17

Hilton Chicago Hotel Downtown


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