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Communicate to achieve better employee recognition

01 Jun, 2020 Employee recognition

Bob Nelson, a leading US consultant in employee recognition, examined why certain managers gave recognition to their staff while others didn’t. He conducted a national survey of 34 organizations, exploring the motivation for the use of employee recognition, questioning the managers about their behavior: whether it stemmed from past experience with the behavior, present reinforcement of the behavior, or future expectations of the behavior.

He found that managers who were high users of recognition tended to have initial positive experiences in using it. Their good results gave them the confidence to keep using it.

In contrast, managers who didn’t use employee recognition behavior seemed to be caught in a negative cycle. They didn’t have positive early experiences with it and therefore resisted applying it.

Dr Nelson’s findings also suggested that to trigger a positive cycle of recognition use, it may be more important for managers to have had a positive personal experience in the use of recognition than merely being given recognition tools and programs.

Knowing how and why to recognize good work

One of the key issues is whether managers actually know how and why to recognize their employees.

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Employee Recognition: The secret to great team performance Employee Recognition: The secret to great team performance

About Kim Harrison – author, editor and content curator

Kim Harrison, Founder and Principal of Cutting Edge PR, loves sharing actionable ideas and information about professional communication and business management. He has wide experience as a corporate affairs manager, consultant, author, lecturer, and CEO of a non-profit organization. Kim is a Fellow and former national board member of the Public Relations Institute of Australia, and he ran his State’s professional development program for 7 years, helping many practitioners to strengthen their communication skills. People from 115 countries benefit from the practical knowledge shared in his monthly newsletter and in his books available from

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