How to lose good staff by failing to do this one thing…

Picture this scenario.

‘Amy’ has worked for the ‘Sunnyvale Law firm’ for ten years. 

She regularly puts in overtime hours, delivers exceptionally high-quality work, regularly shows commercial acumen and care for the business by providing cost-cutting solutions, and is a highly respected member of her team.

Although she likes and values her job, she’s been recently asking herself the question if there’s “something more out there for her”, and reflecting on whether she’s hit a glass ceiling at her current organisation.

On her ten-year anniversary, she shares the milestone with a few close colleagues. They provide an underwhelming whimper of ‘congratulations’, and continue on with their day. 

Feeling disheartened, when she arrives at her desk, her spirits quickly uplift when she sees a white envelope on her desk with her boss’ handwritten ‘Amy 🙂’ scribbled on the front.

She opens the envelope with excited anticipation. 



We’ve onboarded Sinkinson as a new client. I’ll need you to prepare some case notes ready for a meeting with their Director at 3pm today. 

Regards, Tony


Her heart sinks. Not even a ‘thank you’ or ‘congratulations’ on a day she felt she’d worked so hard to get to. 

By missing a simple opportunity of recognition that could have so easily been met through a card, a gift or a public moment of recognition, was enough for Amy to decide in that moment that she wasn’t valued at the organisation, and went on to start looking for other jobs. 

This is a common mistake business owners make, which leaves them scratching their heads when good talent leave with no explanation.

While most companies have some kind of program or scheme for employee recognition, they can sometimes fall short through the sense of the gestures being ‘tokenistic’ or inauthentic.

They become simply another case for managers to check and are entirely disconnected from employees’ achievements, instead of giving people a meaningful sense of appreciation. 

So how can you provide authentic, engaging recognition to your staff?

Create a culture of recognition. 

Here are five ways you can create meaningful moments through recognition:


  1. Provide specific examples — acknowledgment is more meaningful when connected with a particular achievement or business goal.
  2. Make it timely — a recognition which occurs months later is not almost as significant as prompt recognition.
  3. Recognition comes in different forms — achieve a clearer picture of each individual’s primary appreciation language (in a work environment). Then, accordingly, recognise them. 
  4. Don’t underestimate the little things — while recognising critical achievements are important, employees can be just as motivated every day by a simple ‘thank you’.
  5. Communicate the bigger picture — provide regular updates on how the organisation strives to achieve its mission and how employees’ objectives connect to this.

In summary, recognition and appreciation impacts greatly on a staff member’s sense of belonging at a company.

How do you address recognition in your company? Shoot me an email or LinkedIn message to share how you tackle this. 


Paulette x