Recognition in the workplace is a misunderstood concept and one that gets raised often.

This is what we have heard:

  • Many employees don’t feel they are making a valuable contribution to their company’s success.
  • A variety of examples have been given of employees’ extra effort, long hours, pitching in to help others, overcoming challenges, achieving improved results – with no acknowledgement or appreciation expressed.
  • Comments from leaders include – “I don’t need to say thank you – that’s what I am paying them for” or “I can’t praise them when they haven’t completed their targets” or “I can’t say thank you when they messed up last week.”

How do you recognize your employees?

Here are some proven approaches you can try:

  1. Achievement of a Task or Goal – acknowledging that they have reached their end goal – this creates a sense of accomplishment and pride and boosts confidence.

Example: “You have met your targets this month – congratulations” or “you have been working on this project for two months and you have done it – this is great progress for our company – thank you.”

2. Incremental Recognition – acknowledging their progress toward the end goal – this offers encouragement and helps to keep their motivation.

Example: “Our budget is X, your target is X – you are now 20% closer to your goal – great progress” or “I see you are halfway through this activity – how is it going? You are on the right path and well on your way – nice work – thank you.”

3. Acknowledge Contribution – showing how their personal efforts contributed to a bigger goal – this shows that they are making a difference and adding value. Show them the value they add – at a functional level and an emotional level.

Example: “When you did X task, it positively impacted (your team, our customers, our $$, our culture) in this way…. Thank you.”

Example: “By paying close attention to the data you input and the accuracy of processing our company payroll, our employees know that their paycheques will be accurate and on time. You give them peace of mind knowing they can pay their mortgages or rent and other financial obligations.”

4. Show that they Matter – Say hello, goodbye, ask how they are doing, say thank you as much as possible – this shows employees that they are important and appreciated on a regular basis.

The Leadership Challenge: Try one of these recognition approaches – practice it each week with your staff as often as you can. The following week – practice another one. Let me know the results!

Happy Leading!