Jeffrey Kale Flagg on the Importance of Recognizing Your Employees

After graduating from Yale University in 1989, Jeffrey Kale Flagg began his business career as a financial consultant on Wall Street and at 24 years of age Flagg rose to National Marketing Director at a $200+ million per year direct sales firm; transitioning to Sales Trainer and Independent Business Owner in building his 2nd direct sales and 1st start-up to #1 on the Inc. 500 list at 28. As co-founder and CEO of his 2nd start up, Kale oversaw 100,000+ Independent Business Owners and conducted sales seminars for up to 15,000 individuals on a monthly basis for this $100 million enterprise. Since then, Jeffrey Kale Flagg has amassed a full range of experience as a business leader in commercial real estate, medicine, travel and most recently the solar industry.  This has given Flagg experiences he shares with others today. Jeffrey Kale Flagg knows first hand the importance of acknowledging and rewarding good work among employees.

Q: Why is employee recognition so important?

Jeffrey Kale Flagg: Everyone wants to feel as though his or her efforts are valuable. Recognizing and rewarding the hard work your employees put in can promote loyalty and encourage them to continue the hard work.

Q: You speak of releasing the magic. What does that mean?

Jeffrey Kale Flagg: The secret of recognition is that it must be given away. This is the magic that’s released. I’ve seen so many people who never quite reach the success they’re seeking because they take credit for their workers’ efforts and never even thank them.

Q: Should I give an employee recognition even when it really is not deserved?

Jeffrey Kale Flagg: No, it’s important that the recognition be genuine.

Q: Should the recognition be public or private?

Jeffrey Kale Flagg: I believe that the recognition should be as public as possible. If the recognition is sincere and public, the worker will want to repeat that good work performance over and over.

Q: This sounds like a reward-punishment system.

Jeffrey Kale Flagg: Well, in a way, it is. If you reward your employees with recognition, they’ll want to continue the behavior that achieved that recognition. If you punish them through lack of recognition and occasional mention of their bad behaviors, they’ll start to notice others are getting recognition and want that recognition for themselves.

Q: Occasionally a person gets a promotion or raise after poor work performance. What harm does this do?

Jeffrey Kale Flagg: This shows everyone on your team, including that employee, that there are other ways to get positive recognition that aren’t related to work performance. And that, by definition, is detrimental to your enterprise.

Q: This can impact a manager’s success as well, I assume?

Jeffrey Kale Flagg: Yes. Not only are you creating an excuse-oriented whiner by doing this, you’re also halting your own momentum.

Q: What about hosting events that only include good performers?

Jeffrey Kale Flagg: That’s a great way to implement your reward-punishment strategy. Have a party to celebrate the best performers on your team and only invite those performers. Your poor performers will want to come to the party next time. It’s only natural.

Q: What if an employee is continually “punished” but refuses to improve?

Jeffrey Kale Flagg: Then it may be time to reevaluate that team member’s role on your team.

Jeffrey Kale Flagg is a real estate developer and businessman. A graduate of Yale University, today Jeffrey Kale Flagg is General Partner of the American Redevelopment Fund, LP and the Chief Operating Officer of Array Asset Management.

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