Recognizing Employees As a Means to Reverse Employee Apathy

July 10, 2012 by  Filed under: Management 

Many managers yearn to keep their team members satisfied on the job and this task is even more difficult when employees experience employee apathy. Employee apathy is a multidimensional concept that encompasses how individuals feel about their assigned tasks, projects, peers and the company in general. There are five power ways the manager can help reverse employee apathy and this article focuses on employee recognition which is one of the five.

Managers must learn to recognize members of their team when they succeed. Employee recognition reinforces positive behavior and gives team members encouragement to continue actively participating in shaping the direction of the organization.

Unfortunately, most managers underestimate the effectiveness of providing employee recognition. Managers tend to get so involved in their own day-to-day work that they forget that their team members need to be coached and recognized for their efforts. Recognition comes in many forms and managers must learn how each of their team members likes to be recognized. Some employees like to be publicly recognized at departmental or company gatherings by receiving plaques, certificates, and other similar items. While other employees like to be privately recognized by receiving perks such as time off, stock options, bonuses, and so on. It is important for managers to understand each individual and provide the right type of recognition. For example, publicly recognizing a team member who is innately a very private individual can be much worse than not recognizing the individual at all.

It is important to understand that saying ‘yes,’ allowing for failure, and recognizing employees are like a literary trilogy; the three work together to build a solid foundation for reversing employee apathy. Indeed, without them, moving to the fourth step in reversing employee apathy, which is delegation, is difficult. The five steps to reversing employee apathy are:

  1. Learning to say ‘yes’ as much as possible to team members’ suggestions.
  2. Fostering an environment in which learning from small mistakes is the norm.
  3. Recognizing team members as much as possible.
  4. Delegating to promote organizational growth and self-development among team members.
  5. The manager learning the art of facilitation for incredible achievement within the organization.

I continue to use the first three steps on a regular basis and I find that they work extremely well. Only after mastering the first three steps were my teams and I ready to move to the fourth step of delegating to promote organizational growth and self-development among team members.

Dr. Milton Mattox is a senior-level business executive and technologist who has worked with some of America’s most acclaimed companies. An expert in software engineering, information technology, and quality process management, he continues to practice the process methodologies outlined in his new book, “RAIDers of the Lost Art: Reinventing the Art of Business Process Excellence,” to successfully increase return on investment. For more information, reference

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