I am frequently shocked by how businesses, occasionally even human resource managers, react to the topic of appreciation. One senior manager told me not to congratulate anyone for simply performing the job they were hired to do; to reserve credit for when they accomplish something truly great.
Why does recognition matter?
Since childhood, we long for approval from our families, educators and peers. Our drive for positive validation and affirmation is strong, especially when we're young, and we often mistake neutral emotions for negative ones.
As we progress in our career, this remains constant. Being recognized contributes to:
• Keeping exceptional talent
• Boosting employee engagement
• Encouraging outstanding performance
Here are four things to remember when showing your people their efforts are appreciated:
1. Detailed and relevant is the order of the day
If recognition is associated with a particular achievement or business objective, it becomes more significant. When rewarding workers, describe why the award is being given to help people connect the acknowledgement to their actions. This supports the continuation of solid performance.
2. Small actions can make a big difference
While it is essential to celebrate huge successes, don't underestimate the power of simple kudos to drive your team. Sending personal notes or using the internal network to encourage people's positive actions can help you build a consistent environment of team member appreciation. These shout-outs don't have to come only from management; some people find peer appreciation more motivational than management acknowledgement.
3. A sense of the bigger picture
People appreciate recognition because it proves their boss and company recognises their commitment to the team and the overall business performance. This is especially important when companies expand and evolve. It helps people to develop a sense of their importance to the company, pushing them to continue doing an excellent job.
4. Timeliness is crucial
Acknowledgement that comes weeks later isn't half as important as immediate appreciation. The more that leaders delay acknowledging staff, the less likely team members will believe the compliments are genuine. Encourage employee appreciation and put in place executive functions to ensure timely recognition.
TAKEAWAY: Recognition is critical in a thriving workplace, and it doesn't have to be complicated or costly. Talk with your staff about the kind of acknowledgement that means the most to them. You might be surprised at how simple, sincere gestures of gratitude motivate people to perform at their best.