All they need is praise. A simple way to motivate your people

We all know that one person who has “the watch.”

They spend a good portion of their lives working day after day, month after month, year after year for a company.

When it is finally over, their employer shows how greatly appreciated the employee was, by giving them a time piece.


Before we move on, here’s a short story a friend once told me:

I can remember the day my grandfather and I donated his watch to the local thrift store. I was in my mid teenage years at the time and beginning to put a lot of thought into what I wanted to do with my future as far as a career. I had the understanding that retirement was a huge goal and an accomplishment anyone would be honored to achieve.

After driving a few blocks, I finally asked the question, “Why would you just give away something that was given to you as a reward?” My grandfather told me that if the company would have really appreciated him at all, they would have made it known long before he had retired.


A survey by an interesting company called O Great One! showed that:

  • 82 percent of people do not feel like they receive enough recognition from management for their contributions.
  • 40 percent of people with a job said they would apply more effort into their work if they were recognized more.

One can easily understand why an employee would not want to go above and beyond when it goes unnoticed.

I don’t think a celebration needs to be thrown every time a person simply performs a task they are paid to complete.

But, how difficult would it be for a supervisor or team leader to go a bit out of their way to make sure their staff feels appreciated?

A bonus or pay raise is always nice, but sometimes an individual handwritten note can go just as far. A pep talk that points out what has already been completed, instead of what still needs to be accomplished, can ignite a fire that increases productivity for weeks.


There are many ways to create a feeling of respect and usefulness amongst employees. Here are a few suggested by O Great One! (love the name :)), based on their experience and research.

  1. Taking the time to ask them questions and actually listen to their answers will create a new attitude in the workplace. Even if the answers they give are not helpful or productive, simply giving them time in your schedule will make them feel like they are contributing.
  2. Share information with employees, as much as possible. As Sam Walton said, “The more they know, the more they’ll understand. The more they understand, the more they’ll care. Once they care, there’s no stopping them. If you don’t trust your associates to know what’s going on, they’ll know you really don’t consider them partners.”
  3. Celebrate and acknowledge small wins and not just big accomplishments. Make it public.
  4. Make recognition fun and personal. What do you think people will appreciate and talk about more, a pen, or a coffee mug with a funny and personalized note about them?
  5. Another important thing to remember is that taking the time to recognize others is not something that has to be scheduled. You don’t have to wait for the next quarterly review. A surprise, thank you or pat on the back can mean a lot more. The spur of the moment is always a great time to make sure someone’s effort is both noticed and appreciated.

One of the key secrets to being a good leader over a supervisor is easy. Take the time to make sure people feel like more than just a body taking space.

It won’t take too much of your time and results will make you happy. Just try it.

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