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Employee Recognition

Using constructive problem-solving to find ways to reward employees.

In a recent survey of employers and employees conducted by the American Psychological Association a large number of employees complained they weren’t being recognized for their job performance. The system that the organization used to recognize employees they felt was not fair. About half felt that their efforts didn’t count.

Put yourself in the following situation and use the skills and attitudes of resilience to address the challenge. You are the owner of a small business. You started it and you have seen it grow over the years. In recent years, growth has slowed and profit has decreased each year. A number of your employees have been with you since the beginning, and you appreciate very much their effort at keeping the organization afloat and working with you in trying to right the ship. You feel a number of these employees deserve a raise, but you simply don’t have it in the budget at this point. What would you do if you were the boss in this situation?

First, we would suggest that if you are going to deal with the situation effectively, you need to deal with all the strong feelings that you may have, and that you may need to find opportunities for your employees to deal with their frustrations and feelings as well. Constructive problem-solving often goes better after people have had an opportunity to vent their feelings. You know your employees want more than a certificate or a pat on the back. A pay increase or a promotion is often what employees say they are looking for in terms of recognition.

You may want to put together a team involving employees and supervisors to look at ways in which you might solve this problem and be able to provide some type of pay increase for those you wish to recognize. It doesn’t mean that you have to give up the pat on the back or a certificate, but your employees probably need to know that you are aware of what they would really like in terms of recognition and that you and the management team are working to solve the problem.

The economy is hopefully recovering and hopefully you will be successful in righting the ship and then rewarding them for their service and their loyalty. Be creative. Be positive. The success of the organization has had much to do with you and who you are. Project confidence that you can do it again.

The American Psychological Association has been recognizing employers, small and large ,since the late 90s who have made a commitment to employee involvement, work/life balance, employee growth and development, employee health and safety and employee recognition. There is no cost to apply for the award. If you would like more information about the program, contact the American Psychological Association at or contact your state psychological association.