Recognition doesn’t have to take long or be complicated...just saying thank you is a great first step.


My dear friend Stephanie Callahan sent me a text recently suggesting I write a blog about associate recognition. She is better at recognition than anyone I know and her creativity makes each gesture, no matter how big or small, meaningful. Stephanie, this blog is for you!

How important is recognition to you? If I asked your team, would they tell me it is your priority? In this busy season, it can be so easy to let it slip your mind. My goal is to provide you with super easy ways to recognize your team or an individual.

Why is recognition so important?

In doing some research for this blog, I read an interesting article that stated “According to Gallup, 65% of surveyed employees reported they received no recognition over the last 12 months for their work. In the same report, 89% of employers feel that most employees leave their companies to earn more money. But most workers actually leave their jobs due to lack of employee recognition”. Wow, this is eye opening, isn’t it?

What motivates people?

When you think of recognition, do you think of saying thank you to someone for something they did? Yes, that is recognition but it goes beyond a simple and timely thank you. Daniel Pink, author of “Drive: The Surprising Truth about what Motivates Us” has found we are motivated by three things:

  1. Autonomy: People want control over their own work. Give your employees the chance to make decisions.
  2. Mastery: Everyone wants to to improve their skills. Give constructive feedback, provide performance metrics and create individual performance plans
  3. Purpose: People want to be part of something bigger than themselves. Show how their work benefits the business or aligned with their values.

What I love about this list is it challenges us to think about how we lead others. We can motivate our teams by providing autonomy, mastery and purpose but we cannot stop there. We need to also recognize them for a job well done, and sometimes, for just being who they are! Are they reliable? Do they show up on time every time? Do they go above and beyond? Pull them aside, look them in the eyes and genuinely thank them for who they are!

How can you improve recognition?

No two people like recognition done the same way. My friend Stephanie Callahan always reminded me of this fact when we worked together. I thought everyone loved to be called out at the team meeting for a job well done. But she pointed out that for people who hate public recognition, they would have preferred I said nothing than do so publicly. You might think you are doing a great job with recognition but if it isn’t specific to how your associates like to receive it, it is not effective.

Here are some tips:

  • Be timely in your recognition. If you wait a week to thank them, it is less effective.
  • Offer Specific and sincere praise. This means stating what they actually did, not just saying “good job”.
  • Write thank you notes – written notes are still appreciated!
  • Encourage Peer-to-Peer recognition
  • Get to know your team – what are their hobbies? Do they have fur babies? Showing interest in them makes them feel part of the team

Action Time

I love action time. It’s when you get to decide what actions YOU will take to implement something you read here that struck a chord. I want to encourage you to evaluate your current recognition approach! Perhaps one small change could positively impact your associate retention! How amazing would that be? Retail has natural turnover, but anything you can reduce would be worth it! Remember, a thank you goes a long way especially during this busy season. Keep your team engaged and engaged customers will follow.

Would love to hear what you are doing!

I am rooting for you,


A big thank you to Stephanie Callahan for her contributions to this blog!

0 Points

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *