How Recognition Can Improve Employee Performance *

A good leader not only knows how to get the most from their employees, they also know what it takes to constantly improve their performance. For these leaders, it isn’t about driving their employees hard or constantly pushing them to be better. It comes down to how they work with people and support them as individuals.

Providing the necessary support means offering feedback for employees when it is necessary and acknowledging accomplishments. When people get the necessary feedback and recognition for the work they do, it drives growth and inspires them to improve performance. If employees feel overlooked, they are going to be less engaged, and this can impact productivity and creativity.

Here are some of the best ways to motivate employees based on good feedback and recognition.

Express Your Appreciation

The simple act of telling people that you appreciate their work is a good place to start. When people feel like their work isn’t recognized, it can hurt morale. By showing your employee appreciation, you are letting them know that you are aware of their contributions, it will provide them with an internal drive to achieve more.

People tend to be their own harshest critics. They come to work each day, and they have no way of knowing whether they are living up to expectations or if they are just barely getting by. You might think that this is ideal because it will make an employee work harder, but it also has negative consequences. When a person lacks this necessary performance feedback, it can lead to stress and feelings of frustration in their work.

When you give people the recognition they deserve, you can help to relieve some of these negative feelings. You won’t lose the drive that comes from within and self-motivation. However, by knowing they are appreciated, they will feel more secure in their job and they will be motivated to perform.


Many employers try to hire new employees at significantly lower salary than what they’re worth when it comes to compensation. If you want to hire quality professionals that are going to perform well, you have to pay them what they deserve. Nothing is going to make a person feel unappreciated like being underpaid.

Even if you have the leverage to get a person to accept less than what they are worth, you should offer them fair compensation. By taking advantage of the situation, you might save some money, but you are setting a bad tone from the beginning of the relationship.

When you eventually do give them a bonus or a raise, it isn’t going to be appreciated in the same way as it would if you had given them what they are worth from the start. To the individual, it is just going to seem like they are finally getting what they are due.

Acknowledge Growth

The day-to-day recognition and financial compensation are a good start when it comes to showing appreciation. Beyond that, people want to be recognized for progress they have made as a professional. This isn’t about an employee getting good at a single task or doing something to increase revenue. It’s about recognizing people when they have grown into a new role in the company or become a master of their craft.

When a person knows that they are being recognized as a leader or an expert, it changes the way that they do things. It is the recognition that has helped to bring about a new identity and sets them on a course of productivity and positivity.

In many professional settings, you don’t have these identifiable moments where the individual has a new title that represents the change. This is why it is up to the company leadership to recognize these changes and to vocalize them. When you see this kind of growth in an individual, let them know.

If you want to motivate people to do more and do better, you have to give them recognition and feedback for the work they do. When employees get this attention they perform better, and with time, they will grow with their role and become something better than they were when they first started with the company.

Rae Steinbach – guest contributor – is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing, of course.

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