24 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Guide to the Reasons Why and How to Provide Employee Recognition,
This review is from: The Carrot Principle: How the Best Managers Use Recognition to Engage Their Employees, Retain Talent, and Drive Performance (Hardcover)More than 10 years ago, an organization that I headed, Leading Division Presidents 100, looked at the question of how to improve employee motivation and effectiveness. From that research, it was clear that improving employee recognition could be an important element among many. Since that time, I've looked in vain for a book that described how to implement such a recognition program. I'm pleased to say that The Carrot Principle fills that void. Congratulations to the authors.
The authors begin by making the case for why recognition works in making organizations more successful:
1. Where employees feel more recognized, return on equity is higher (2.4 percent in the lowest quartile compared to 8.7 percent in the highest quartile. (This finding did raise a question in my mind -- why are the companies in this research study all so unprofitable in ROE?)
2. Where employees rate managers highly for recognizing employee contributions, customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, and retention are usually higher.
3. People with high work motivation almost all (94.4 percent) say that their managers are effective at recognition.
4. 79 percent of those who quit jobs cite lack of appreciation as one reason for leaving.
How much are companies spending that provide good employee recognition? Basically, it's about $1,000 a year per employee. Many of the employers cited in the book report feeling that they enjoy economic payoffs that are more than 20 times that cost.
The authors offer a Recognition Effectiveness Model on page 178 that captures the essence of how they see the cause and effect working:
1. Where employee recognition is higher, goal setting, communications, trust, and accountability are higher.
2. These benefits are accelerated by recognizing what matters most which helps with alignment, reinforcing the desired culture, company values, and business objectives.
3. These benefits can be further accelerated by doing recognition in the right way, increasing impact by being inclusive, meaningful, and performance-based.
4. Business results improve because the program is relevant to manager tasks and improvements in employee engagement that lead to better employee retention, productivity, customer satisfaction, and profitability.
The methodology for putting this model in place begins with measuring, then assessing, designing, training, executing, and then reiterating those steps.
The statistical findings are described in detail in appendices B, C, and D which I recommend you read.
But a lot of people have reported that recognition is important. You probably already believe that or you wouldn't be considering this book.
I found the most beneficial parts of the book concentrated in how to create a carrot culture (of recognition) and details of how to manage by carrots (recognition). Before leaving that subject, let me say that I found the carrot metaphor troubling. Recognizing people isn't the same as dangling a carrot in front of an employee's face. Recognizing people is more about respect, caring, gratitude, and paying attention.
Basically, most managers don't provide much recognition. Why not? Although this book suggests all kinds of false beliefs are the reason, my research shows that the primary reason is that managers who don't get recognition don't give recognition. So the good example has to begin at the top. That's counter to most company cultures where the CEO is viewed as some kind of superman or superwoman and the rest of the organization's people are expendable.
With training and guidance, that circumstance can be changed. I found the materials in chapters 9 and 10 to be most helpful in explaining what kind of recognition is appropriate for what kinds of accomplishments and 125 recognition ideas. I was also pleased to see that the authors understand that recognition is individual; each person has a different idea of what they want. You need to provide what's wanted . . . or it doesn't work.
It's not easy to provide meaningful recognition. When you do, the results can be magical (for everyone). When you do it badly, you are often worse off than where you started (having made people feel like they are unimportant rather than simply ignored by a busy manager).
My main fear about this book is that some readers will see this as just another way to provide low-cost benefits for which employees will put forth very valuable efforts. In that context, recognition can become another kind of manipulation, and that always backfires.
Let me leave you with two words of warning:
1. Recognition doesn't work alone. You also need to provide opportunities for people to learn, grow, accomplish, feel fulfilled, and achieve many other important satisfactions. In that sense, this book is too narrow to be totally useful.
2. Recognition takes time and consistency. Don't start unless you intend to continue or you'll eventually make matters worse.