Recognition of our good work is a powerful psychological motivator for everyone because we all want to see ourselves in a positive light. Praise and recognition are a fundamental human need, but are all-too-rare and given badly by most. This is one of the big tragedies in our society. I have seen it in workplace after workplace during my career. Invariably, employee recognition benefits result for all who give and receive it.
Some of the most financially successful people I have ever encountered have been driven by this urge for other people to acknowledge their value. My first job was with Bond Corporation, in its founder Alan Bond, a flamboyant millionaire who was one of the richest men in Australia. Of all people, he didn’t seem to need validation of his worth. But late one night at the company’s boozy New Year’s Eve party I saw him seeking approval of all those around him, including young recruits like me. He had just bought a very pricey home and was keen for staff to tell him how great the home was. It was a telling moment. He was still just like most of us in seeking recognition; in fact it was probably a major factor in his drive for success.
If you give due recognition for good work you will earn respect as a leader. You will increase the satisfaction and productivity of those who are touched by it. What’s more, you can recognize others at no financial cost! Recognition can be given informally or in formal corporate programs. Always be mindful that good recognition creates big benefits.
Benefits of recognition
Some of the benefits that employee recognition creates are:
- Employees feel assured their work is valued and appreciated
- Employees have a greater sense of belonging to their organization
- Their loyalty increases
- Their motivation increases
- Employee retention increases.
A systematic way to give good recognition
In his blog, expert US business coach, Marshall Goldsmith, has also outlined a systematic way to give recognition to deserving people, including family and friends, not just work colleagues. He says this is a guaranteed formula to work. Try it and see how you go:
- List the names of the key groups of people that impact your life – both at work and home.
- Write down the names of the people in each group.
- Post your list in a place you can’t miss seeing regularly.
- Twice a week – once on Wednesday, once on Friday – review the list and ask yourself, “Did anyone on this list do something that I should recognize?”
- If someone did, stop by to say, “Thank you,” make a quick phone call, leave a voice mail, send an email or jot down a note.
- Don’t do anything that takes up too much time. This process needs to be time-efficient or you won’t stick with it.
- If no one on the list did anything that you believe should be recognized, don’t say anything. You don’t want to be hypocrite or a fake. No recognition is better than recognition that you don’t really mean.
- Stick with the process. You won’t see much impact in a week – but you will see a huge difference in a year.
Further helpful reading
My article, “Employee recognition strategies are important.” is worth reading to give you an broader viewpoint on this important topic for workplace application. The bottom line is that bosses should give employees more recognition. What’s more, team praise, peer-to-peer recognition programs and praise of bosses also comprise employee recognition that powerfully lifts workplace morale and productivity.
If you want to find out more on how and when to recognize employees for good work, my helpful ebook, Employee Recognition: The secret to great team performance, explains how to implement this fabulous activity in your team or within your whole organization.