Praise Counts More Than the Paycheck?

Which reward do you think more employees prefer — an end-of-the-year bonus that gets tacked onto that second December paycheck or an enthusiastic sharing of “job well done!” in front of their peers? Would you be surprised to learn that money is not the more valued of the two in creating a sense of long-term happiness in the workplace?

Employees like the extra money, to be sure, but they also want that public recognition. An opportunity to feel a little pride in one’s work and to allow others to stand in admiration should not be underestimated. Let’s face it — if you examine the most successful leaders in any given profession, they are not likely to be accused of struggling in the confident ego department.

This praise does not have to take the form of calling everyone out from their cubicles to hover around a cake with “Way to go, Bob!!” scrolled in blue icing for ten minutes on a Friday afternoon. As a recent article written by Michelle V. Rafter for NBC News shares, the sharing of praise can occur in many different forms.

Some companies choose to feature an “employee of the month” in a newsletter or in the entryway of a building. Maybe a designated parking spot safe from rain and close to the door offers that public display of appreciation. It could be that the boss shows more faith in an employee by assigning more challenging work. Or, maybe a worker receives some kind words on the company’s website or Facebook page. Of course, having the cake never hurts, either.

It’s part of Relationship 101 no matter what kind of interpersonal dynamic is at play — people want to know they are valued and appreciated. An extra 0.5% in the paycheck to end the year is great, but sometimes, even in business, it’s the thought the counts. Make the praise personal and meaningful.

Have you ever been praised or recognized at a job in a way that really impacted you? If you are an employer, what are some ways in which you reinforce to employees their value and specific ways in which they have benefited the workplace?

About the author


Joe Lavelle

Joe Lavelle is the Co-Founder of intrepidNow. Prior to that Joe was an accomplished healthcare IT executive and career coach with a record of successfully meeting the business and technology challenges of diverse organizations including health plans, health delivery networks, health care companies, and several Fortune 500 companies.

Joe is also the author of Act As If It Were Impossible To Fail, available on Amazon.