Keys to Employee Engagement: 4. Recognition

We’re working right now on four factors that help motivate people to perform their best.

The fourth question in the Q12 is “In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?”

I think ALL employees like to feel their work is appreciated.  That it makes a difference.

Recognition Word CloudThink how you would feel if you thought you were doing a good job and your boss made you feel that that was just what was expected of you and never acknowledged the effort you put into your work.  I think, if all employees hear is criticism, there comes a point at which they tune out and then the best employees decide to leave.

When was the last time you made some positive comments on the work done by one of your subordinates? We tend to hear more criticism than praise.  I read a great quote about this, “Criticism is easy. Anyone can do it. It takes special grace to be an encourager.”

Some people think the way to recognize people’s accomplishments is to give them money.  Certainly, it CAN make sense to use money as a reward for good work, but it’s not the ONLY way.  Sometimes the best way to  recognize someone’s work is through intangibles.

I read a story about a high achiever who received so many plaques and other awards that they had lost their meaning. When it came around to the annual sales meeting, his manager arranged for his family to be present when he was presented with his latest plaque for top performer.  Having his family share in the experience meant more to him than the plaque he received.  His manager was astute to see that the reward system was losing significance for this employee and, by reaching out to the employee’s family, he learned just what was important to this employee.

For my sales teams, I used to go around, shake their hands and say, “Way to go!” whenever one of them landed a new account. In my monthly report (which I shared with my sales personnel), I kept a chart that showed rankings for new account development in dollars and in numbers of accounts developed. There wasn’t a prize for being at the top of the list, but the competitive nature of sales people meant they wanted to be as close to the top of the list as they could.  Maybe it’s not just coincidence that our Division was the most profitable division of 22 business units in our company.

Most people don’t expect to receive a gold star or plaque every day. I think the majority are just hoping to hear someone say something like, “Nice Work!”, “Good Job”, or “I really like how you did that” Giving praise like that, on a regular basis, is not that difficult to do.  If you’re not doing this now, try it for a month to see what kind of response you get.  You’ll most likely be pleasantly surprised.