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Gratitude goes a long way, especially in the workplace. 

Our colleagues become a crucial part of our lives. It is pertinent to properly recognize hard work done right to ensure continued motivation and success. To create a positive outcome, it’s crucial to understand your employees at a deeper level, so you can be sure to give them something they can truly appreciate.

What is recognition?

In short, recognition refers to a form of gratitude that rewards action and hard work. There are numerous ways to reward or recognize these acts, and by doing so, you are more likely to see a positive outcome in the recipient and workplace as a whole. 

Why it matters

Often, companies fail to show their appreciation, which can lead to a lower potential for growth in the future. By taking the time to acknowledge employee achievements, you can create a stronger sense of engagement, which will inevitably contribute to a higher level of achievement. It may be a daunting task to lead a team, but being an observational leader can be very beneficial to your team’s production.

“Taking time to recognize employee achievements helps foster engagement, increases productivity, and reduces tension in the work environment. Leading a team can often be a challenging task, let alone ensuring all staff are engaged.” 

Best practice

Hands down, the best approach to recognition in the workplace is positive reinforcement. According to the APA Dictionary of Psychology, Positive Reinforcement refers to an increase in the probability of some activity because that activity results in the presentation of a stimulus or some circumstance. 

“Positive reinforcement refers to the introduction of a desirable or pleasant stimulus after a behavior. The desirable stimulus reinforces the behavior, making it more likely that the behavior will reoccur.”  -Reinforcement in Psychology.

Ideas for Implementing Positive Reinforcement

”Positive reinforcement is a common practice in the workplace, where the promise of monetary rewards, increased responsibilities, and higher status act as effective motivators for desired behavior.”

Some examples of ways in which you can implement positive reinforcement may include;


  • Gifts
  • Bonuses (Monetary) 
  • Awards 
  • Promotions
  • Words of Encouragement 



Psychologically speaking, positive reinforcement and recognition are known to lead to several valuable workplace factors, including;

-Increased Productivity

-Creates a sense of unity 

-Builds healthy relationships

-Creates trust 

-Improves the core value of the company 

-Creates a valued environment 

Recognition in the workplace can be achieved in many ways; the critical factor to consider is genuine gratitude and connection. It’s human nature to want to belong and feel appreciated, especially for hard work; hence recognition is essential in the workplace, and “positive reinforcement is the most powerful leadership tool” (Daniels, 1982). With that being said, it’s important to show gratitude and recognition in the workplace — not only for your employee growth but also for the company’s growth as a whole. 



Reinforcement in Psychology:  Courtney E. Ackerman, MA.


Positive Reinforcement in the Workplace:  Heather S. Lonczak, Ph.D.


Why Is Positive Reinforcement Important in the Workplace: M.T. Wroblewski 



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