Have you considered the different forms of employee recognition? I don’t mean incentives vs. rewards, etc. I mean the different types of recognition employees (at all levels) need. Gallup recently released a report on Building Engagement in This Economic Crisis. James K. Harter, Ph.D, Gallup’s chief scientist of workplace management and well-being, put it this way:

“In good times, employee engagement is the difference between being good and being great. In bad times, it’s the difference between surviving and not. In good times and bad, low engagement reduces performance and profit. And under the current circumstances, many companies can’t afford to let those drop.”

So what are these different types of recognition employees need? From Gallup’s “tips to help managers keep employees focused and engaged,” I see five types of recognition:

1) Recognition of effort – what we commonly understand as recognition for employees who go above and beyond expectations.

2) Recognition of skills and talents – noticing what each employee is good at and prefers to do, then giving them the opportunity to do it.

3) Recognition of the need for focus and direction – helping employees overcome the rampant rumours and focus on what you need them to do.

4) Recognition of personal needs – showing your employees you care about their well being by taking the time to understand them and their unique needs.

5) Recognition of the need to grow and develop – understanding employee needs to continue to learn something new and follow a career path in your company.

Engauge, an employee engagement consultancy in the U.K., gives us one more type:

6) Recognition of the need to let off steam – realising your most engaged employees are also the ones who care the most. When things don’t go as they planned, they need to let off steam and sometimes will do so in an enthusiastic if not politic manner.

What other types of recognition are there? What type of recognition do you need?

Derek Irvine, Globoforce