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HR Building - We All Crave Some More... Recognition!

We All Crave Some More... Recognition!
We All Crave Some More... Recognition!

Posted on Monday, November 19, 2018
Categories: Human Resources

Earlier this month, I had the privilege to participate in a panel discussion on the value and impact of employee recognition. One statement that resonated true throughout the discussion was that we all crave recognition for our work performed. In fact, lack of recognition has been cited as the number one source of why people leave their jobs.

To recognize someone’s efforts does not have to be hard. It does have to be genuine, specific, and timely.

Imagine hosting your first family holiday gathering and you pull out all the stops to impress the in-laws and extended relatives. No one says 'thank you' until weeks pass by and a general 'thanks for having us' over text message is received by your spouse. No one recognized all the effort and time you invested into preparing for the big family affair which you made sure to accommodate everyone. You researched menu options for those with food allergies or other dietary restrictions, cleaned, decorated your home making sure to display gift décor from your new relatives, and arranged fun activities for entertainment. You put forth your absolute best with purposeful thought and attention to each detail, and no one acknowledged your work. These same hurtful feelings of unappreciation occur when organizations fail to recognize their employees in the workplace. Employees spend a majority of their time investing in your organization.

Another example I shared during the panel discussion was that my 2-year old son recently started potty training. The babysitter he goes to has also been working with us in this effort. This week he went to the potty several times. She immediately praised him with smiles and applause (the successful goal of using the potty) and celebrated it with a special fruit snack or candy reward. She texted me the praising potty news which I was thrilled to receive and, in turn, continued to celebrate the good news with co-workers / friends / family. There were high-fives, whoo-hoos, cheers, smiles, etc. You get the idea… the recognition of his success is shared timely in phone calls, text message etc. and even his fellow classmates (ages 3,4,5) joined in to congratulate him (good job, high-fives) on the success. Translating this to your workplace…

To create an environment of recognition, an organization must first decide and communicate what actions/behaviors will be recognized. These areas should align with your company’s mission, vision, and values.

Common recognition areas include:

  • Goal achievement (i.e. sales, production, retention)
  • Effort (achieving new skills or increased knowledge that can help the company grow)
  • Values (i.e. customer service, teamwork, innovation)
  • Other (i.e. tenure with the company, solutions to work problems)

Once defined, find out how your people like to be recognized and offer a variety of methods within your program. A few easy to implement options include:

  • “Hall of Fame” – posting client/customer thank you notes, letters of appreciation or other praise reports of your employees in a designated common hallway for the month
  • A well-timed service anniversary email to employee thanking them for their service to the company that includes a specific example of how they have contributed to the company’s success.
  • An employee of the month program – preferred parking space, an article in the company newsletter or social media forum
  • Personalized thank you certificate or letter of appreciation outlining the specific behavior hand delivered from senior manager of your company with a warm handshake and smile. (Talk about the high impact on the impression left with the employee – their senior manager knew him/her by name and also the specific contributions this employee was making in the company!) 
  • Highlight them during a team meeting
  • Personalized / monogrammed company SWAG, shirts, water bottles, coffee mugs, plaques (i.e. sales master, all-star team player)

Expressing timely recognition of desired actions or behaviors has been proven to increase productivity, retention and reduce turnover.

Tagged:personnel, employment, benefits, HR Building, employee recognition

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