Becoming a Better Manager: The Importance of Employee Recognition

Becoming a manager is a significant career milestone. In many cases, it’s a reflection of your performance in your current role and demonstrated proficiency in your field (congrats!).

However, managing people requires an entirely different skillset – so it’s not unusual for new managers to find themselves facing unexpected challenges.

One often overlooked aspect of effective management is employee recognition – according to experts, it helps with employee engagement and retention, and is crucial for business success.

In fact, research shows that employee engagement, productivity, and performance are 14% higher in organisations with a strong recognition culture.

Another study found that businesses with high employee engagement levels are 21% more profitable.

If you’ve found yourself promoted into a managerial position without formal management training or experience supervising others, you’re not alone.

The good news is that a consistent and genuine employee recognition strategy can go a long way when it comes to leadership success.

What is employee recognition, and why does it matter?

Think about the last time you received positive affirmation from somebody in your close circle. How did it feel? As human beings, we thrive on being recognised for our unique skills, abilities, and achievements.

Employee recognition involves publicly acknowledging and appreciating the efforts and contributions of your team members. While it may seem like a simple concept, its impact in the workplace can be profound.

So how can you put it into practice?

Top Tips for Recognising your Employees

  1. Be specific. Forget vague niceties – recognition is far more meaningful when it’s tied to a specific achievement, such as hitting a sales target or other milestone.
  2. Make it timely. Acting promptly demonstrates that employee recognition is an authentic, conscious priority for you and the business.
  3. Don’t forget the small stuff. Yes, big milestones deserve recognition – but the everyday achievements have their place too! Perhaps your team member has demonstrated a positive attitude, kindness, or resilience, or they’ve managed a particular situation with grace. If it ties in with your company ethos and goals, it’s worth recognising.
  4. Make it official. Consider setting up a formal employee recognition program, like Employee of the Month, to showcase and reward excellence on an ongoing basis.
  5. Get creative. The key is to reward your staff with something makes them feel motivated. You don’t need to spend the big bucks – as a matter of fact, 65% of employees actually prefer non-monetary incentives! Some ideas could include:
    • A surprise thank you note;
    • Professional development opportunities like courses, memberships, or networking event tickets;
    • A personalised gift or experience tailored to their specific interests;
    • Flexible work arrangements.

Becoming a better manager involves mastering a vast range of skills, and in a time where it’s never been more important to attract – and retain – the right talent, employee recognition should be a key focus.

Managers who prioritise and appreciate their team members not only create a positive work environment but also drive motivation, boost morale, and ultimately contribute to the overall success of their organisation.



Janet Camilleri
Janet Camilleri
After stints as a primary school teacher, check out chick, and debt collection officer, Janet Camilleri began freelance writing for magazines when her children were small. Since then, her work has appeared in hundreds of magazines, anthologies and websites, including the Huffington Post and Flying Solo. A multi-award winning business woman, in her “spare” time Janet enjoys blogging for fun at


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