How to Recognize Your Best Employees (You Might Have it Wrong)

Any company is only as good as its employees. It is no coincidence that the best companies to work for are also among the most prosperous ones. The reason is simple- recognizing and giving due recognition to good employees boosts their morale and creates a positive workplace which in turn attracts better talent. It's a virtuous cycle set in motion when employers have in place appropriate mechanisms to recognize and give due credit for engagement and productivity. 

The problem is, most businesses do not have such mechanisms. At best, they operate in a two-tiered system. First, the managers oversee and review day to day activities and in turn, label employees as dedicated, good, bad, etc. On the second level, each employee undergoes a quarterly or annual review that puts into numbers all their achievements and shortfalls in the given period. 

As you might guess, this approach has two problems:

  • Daily assessment by managers leaves room for bias which in turn can harm the work environment. 
  • Secondly, quarterly or annual reviews creates a system where bursts of hyper-productivity are encouraged over consistent performance. 

Visit any office in the weeks preceding its quarterly or annual review and you will find most employees working beyond their capacities to meet their goals. 

While encouraging employees to push beyond their capabilities can be an excellent way to artificially seed motivation, it backfires when it is a result of procrastination. 

So what is the ideal mechanism to recognize best employees? To be honest, there is none. If there was one correct formula, everyone would be using it. But we can tell you what works better and how best companies approach the problem. 

Use this three-pronged approach and you are guaranteed to get exceedingly better results than you do now: 

Gamification 

People like to play and more than playing, they like to win. Gamification is a method to incorporate the elements of a game like point scoring, competition, etc to normally mundane tasks to encourage employees to work harder (and make it fun). In normal work scenarios, it is difficult to precisely recognize who is doing better, particularly if they are all doing the same task. But with gamification, you can see who is the winner. 

As a word of caution, gamification should be limited only to common tasks and shouldn't be stretched too further. In such cases, you might find employees or teams who should be collaborating, always competing with each other. 

Loosen the Reins 

Give your employees more breathing space- be it flexibility in office timings, allowing them to wear casuals at the office, or by any other means you see fit. Then observe how they make use of it. Some would go full ballistic- they would never come on time and would sport all kinds of fashion wear to the office. They are not your best employees. Then there would be others who make reasonable use of such flexibility- may be getting late once in a week or wearing casuals twice a week. The point is, they would take these leniencies not as an entitlement but as a bonus and act responsibly even when they have the liberty to not do so. 

Engagement

Looking busy is not the same as actually being busy. If you add to it the tendency of hyper-productivity during review periods, you have an employee who bypasses both the levels of assessment in a common work environment. Managers would always find them busy and their quarterly review would indicate they have achieved their goals. But are they your best employee? Not quite. 

A better metric is to measure how engaged they are in their tasks consistently. This, of course, is tough to measure but if you deploy the right tools like Prodoscore, you can get an accurate real-time assessment of each of your employees and be able to value qualitative considerations as well. 

Overall, recognizing your best employees isn’t just about encouraging individual resources but it also helps set the standard of how other employees are expected to be. If you do this right, you get a productive and collaborative workplace but do it wrong by recognizing and rewarding the wrong talent, and you will end up corrupting the entire work environment.  Make the right choice. Get a free assessment.