A little recognition goes a long way, especially in an office setting. By recognizing your employees and co-workers internally, morale can improve and attitudes shift to be more positive. (External recognition is a topic for another time.)
I’m not suggesting that you suggest to your boss that you have a party with hats every time someone turns in a project early, or puts in a little extra effort. I am suggesting that a simple thank you for your hard work would go pretty far.
In my experience, the big bosses in most companies are often to focused on the bottom line or the overall picture that they tend to forget that people who are a part of that bottom line.
An About.com article linked here reiterates the human resource side of recognizing employees.
“People who feel appreciated are more positive about themselves and their ability to contribute,” the article states. “People with positive self-esteem are potentially your best employees. These beliefs about employee recognition are common among employers even if not commonly carried out.”
Additionally, employee recognition should be an ongoing occurrence and not just an award handed out at the yearly company party.
Admittedly, it takes time and a good system to recognize employees. But really, how long does a prize drawing or an extra day off take? Are those eight hours really worth disgruntled employees? I believe, the benefits far outweigh the time, effort and initial cost. You can’t fake a positive atmosphere.