Despite the evidence that employee recognition works-it motivates employees and increases their performance-many managers don’t make it a practice. Why not?

That’s the question Dr. Bob Nelson-a leading authority on employee recognition, rewards and retention-asked of managers of 34 national employers, ranging from The Walt Disney Corporation to the U.S. Postal Service. According to the study, here are the six reasons managers cited as to why they don’t use employee recognition:

1.      They’re not sure how to best recognize employees.

2.      They don’t feel it’s an important part of their job.

3.      They don’t have time to do it.

4.      They’re afraid they’ll leave someone out.

5.      They don’t feel that employees value the recognition they’ve given in the past.

6.      Their organizations don’t facilitate recognition efforts.

Here are my lightning round responses to these reasons:

  1. How about an occasional email saying “Nice job on solving that issue” or a short announcement at a staff meeting about an employee who took care of a technical glitch that was plaguing everyone”? Recognition doesn’t have to have a ticker-tape parade stature or result in an all-expenses-paid trip to the Bahamas. Recognition is anything that shows an employee his or her effort has not gone unnoticed.
  2. Yes it is. If it’s not, what is important? Moving around human chess pieces until you get X amount of production out of them?
  3. There is always time.
  4. Ask questions. Find out who helped.
  5. They do.
  6. Who cares? (See point number 1.)

The actual study is very thoughtful and thorough look at the results of recognition and what they found to be the differences in the people who practice it and those who don’t. It’s worth a read.