QUIZ: How High Is Your Recognition Quotient?

Kimberly Abel

Companies with employee recognition and reward programs tend to have higher retention rates, increased morale and productivity, and even better customer service. We know this because when companies demonstrate authentic employee appreciation and meaningful thanks, it matters to employees and positively influences their behavior. Yet so many companies still struggle with the who, what, where and how of developing and implementing recognition programs. So, before you get started, take this fun and enlightening five question quiz to determine your recognition quotient (RQ).

  1. Your assistant stayed two extra hours to help you finish a project to meet an important deadline. To show your appreciation you:
    1. Let her cash her paycheck
    2. Say thanks but remind her that she forgot to clean the coffee pot.
    3. Put a thank you Post-it note on her desk.
    4. Take her to lunch and give her a one-minute praising.

  1. Your sales team just broke the third-quarter company record. You:
    1. Up the quota for next year.
    2. Remind them how much commission they’re making and thank them for doing a good job.
    3. Sponsor a celebrity potluck lunch in the cafeteria
    4. Publicly thank all of the contributors at a company meeting, plaster the team’s pictures in the company newsletter and send a personal note of congratulations to each person with a $50 night-on-the-town gift certificate.

  1. An employee suggestion on a new mailer design just saved the company more than $50,000 in printing costs. As a follow up you:
    1. Ask why he didn’t speak up before.
    2. Tell him he’s now in charge of the project – in addition to his current responsibilities.
    3. Send him a $50 suggestion award check six months later.
    4. Give him a thank-you day off with pay and two tickets to his favorite sporting event.

  1. To recognize an employee’s 10-year anniversary, you:
    1. Let her leave five minutes early.
    2. Give her the company recognition plaque to hang at her desk for a month.
    3. Send her an email acknowledgement and offer to take her to lunch at her favorite fast food restaurant.
    4. Celebrate with cake and a verbal praising at a special company meeting honoring the anniversary, and give her an extra week of paid vacation to recognize her loyal service.

  1. A local newspaper published a press release an entry-level employee wrote, which in turn brought in $100,000 in new business. You:
    1. Ask him why he didn’t send the release to a bigger paper.
    2. Praise him for a job well done but suggest some ways he might improve his writing style.
    3. Give him a $10 bonus in his next paycheck.
    4. Recognize his fine work in a company-wide memo and offer him a more prestigious job title and a $1000 raise.

Score your quiz to determine your RQ.

D = 3

C = 2

B = 1

A = 0

Using the scale above, calculate your total score.

0 – 4: Recognition is definitely not in your wheelhouse. If you want to learn how to keep your employees around longer than three months, start reading up on effective ways to reinforce workers for their ideas, energy, and effort. Don’t worry if it seems awkward at first. It takes practice.

5 – 9: At least you remember to say "thank you," but don’t be surprised if that’s not enough to create a motivating environment. Learn better ways to show your appreciation by reading articles, attending seminars, and finding out what other managers do for their employees.

10-14: You’ve got the right idea; your practices just need a little refinement. Search out resources in your company for innovative ways to reward employees. Are there formal programs to tattend, discretionary budgets that might allow you to pursue things on your own, or internal recognition training programs to learn new techniques on how to positively reinforce the people you work with?

15: You’re a recognition expert. Become a true recognition champion by staying in touch with recognition leaders, sharing your best practices with others, and spreading the word regarding the power of positive reinforcement and recognition.

Kimberly Abel is the Vice President, Employee Solutions for Maritz Motivation Solutions www.MaritzMotivation.com, a world leader in designing and managing motivation and loyalty programs for major corporations. Abel is responsible for developing and communicating the company’s thought leadership and point of view on workforce performance and employee recognition solutions. She can be reached at Kimberly.Abel@Maritz.com.