Employee Recognition: You’re Doing It Wrong
By: Ashish Gambhir

Employee recognition is crucial — without it, servers quickly lose zeal for their work, and any motivation to contribute discretionary effort to the business. Why would they go above and beyond when their accomplishments seem to be taken for granted?

Despite the tangible impacts that stem from low recognition rates — decreased efficiency, dips in customer satisfaction, high turnover — the act of giving kudos always seems to sink to the bottom of the barrel. Perhaps this is the result of the faulty assumption that recognition has no logistical consequences: we’ve just seen that it does, and large ones at that.

95% of general managers admit that they don’t recognize employees as much as they should, according to MomentSnap research. That’s 95% of the frontline workforce that’s missing out on additional motivation. Forward-thinking business are establishing formalized systems for recognition in order to ensure that discretionary effort is maximized.

What does a “formalized recognition system” look like? Some top 5% GMs have taken a lesson from lower school classrooms, setting up simple leaderboards back of house and giving stars for special achievements in sales or guest satisfaction. Others have adopted enterprise mobile platforms that feature automated recognition features, like MomentSnap.

Whatever the system, there are three core best practices that should apply to every instance of recognition. Here’s how the leaders are empowering workers through recognition.

Keep it genuine. Send a unique message to each employee you recognize. Shotgunning a single congratulations to multiple workers cheapens the sentiment of celebration and appreciation. Never congratulate en masse — or at the very least, do so sparingly.

Be specific. When recognizing, always cite a particular achievement or moment when the employee in question excelled. It highlights positive work and also lets employees know that leaders are invested and paying attention to what goes on in the store.

Recognize frequently, but not too frequently. Recognition is governed by supply and demand like anything else. Give too much, it starts to mean too little; give too little and everyone feels underappreciated. Strive to strike a balance.