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Case Code: CLHR057
Case Length: 7 pages 
Period: 2013-2018
Pub Date: 2020
Teaching Note: Available
Subject : Human Resources/ Organization Behavior
Organization :Legal Monkeys
Industry :Business & Consumer Services
Countries : United States

Employee Recognition: A Key Motivation Factor for Millennial Employees



Motivating employees is a constant challenge for managers and apart from extrinsic rewards such as high pay and benefits such as employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), bonuses, and variable pay, among others, intrinsic rewards such as employee recognition, the feeling of doing meaningful, interesting, and impactful work, opportunities to learn on the job, and autonomy among other things, go a long way in motivating employees.

The case study “Employee Recognition: A Key Motivation Factor for Millennial Employees” describes the benefits of timely recognition of employees’ work and the innovative methods employed to recognize the outstanding performance of employees. Research studies in the fields of Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior have concluded that employee recognition is the most effective form of intrinsic motivation. Timely and well-publicized recognition increases the self-esteem and productivity of employees and decreases employee turnaround in organizations.

Legal Monkeys, a US-based provider of records retrieval solutions to American legal firms, implemented a unique, inexpensive employee recognition program that had a tremendous impact on employee motivation. The company’s management encouraged its employees to write a note of appreciation for their peers on an 8*10 inch glass picture frame whenever they displayed exemplary work. This frame, called “The Appreciation Board”, was then presented to the receiver and read out aloud during the ‘Monkey Huddle’ that was held every morning. The Monkey Huddle ritual was carried out to pass on recent learning and knowledge to others in the organization. Corey Cormier, the company’s CEO, attributed increased productivity and employee retention in the organization to the Appreciation Board program.

Freedom Financial Network (FFN), a US-based financial advisory company, followed a similar strategy of employee recognition. To retain employees at its call center that was dominated by millennials, FFN implemented employee recognition software as against the manual approach adopted by Legal Monkeys. In 2013, FFN launched the Freedom Star Recognition Program using the “360 Recognition Platform” of Terryberry, a US-based provider of employee recognition software. Company employees wrote notes of appreciation on the platform using their mobile phones for their peers whenever they demonstrated the organization’s four core values. These messages were then displayed on monitors that were hung on the walls of the office corridors. The recognition program helped the company retain millennial employees at its call center.
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  • Highlight the importance and benefits of employee recognition as a motivational strategy.
  • Describe different contemporary employee recognition practices.
  • Showcase the digitalization of employee recognition practices.
  • Help understand the various intrinsic motivation factors.
Many research studies in Human Resources Management and OB have concluded that of all the various intrinsic motivators, recognition and praise are considered the most effective. The studies suggest that when managers recognize an employee appropriately in front of other employees, they not only boost the self-esteem and performance of that employee but also approve of his/her work ethics. It has also been found that when employers recognize the efforts of employees, it leads to greater employee satisfaction, and satisfied employees are more likely to stay with the company for a longer time and deliver more than what is expected of them.... ...


Employee Recognition, Intrinsic Motivation, Motivation Theories, Zero-cost Motivation Strategies, Employee Appreciation, Employee Productivity, Stress Management, Emotional Intelligence, Creativity and Innovation, HR Software, Employee Recognition Software

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