Employee Recognition Revisited: Tips for a great workforce
We know a manager’s role is rather complex, juggling many tasks. Still, there is one task that offers true insight and positive change, and that is employee recognition with continuous feedback. The team goes to great lengths to hone their skills and competencies; sometimes, all they need to know is, their efforts are noticed.
The importance of Employee Recognition
Telling someone they have done a great job instils a sense of pride and purpose which meets one of the most basic human needs…to feel valued.
Engaged employees fully immerse themselves in their work, not only with their technical skills but also with their passion and creativity. They know their job is essential, but they also want to feel they are making a difference to the company and team. We have a habit of leveraging recognition after a significant contribution; the reality is every effort adds value and needs some form of credit.
There’s a clear pattern between recognising accomplishments and positive change and the sense that the company sees them as a partner in its mission. To truly add to the recognition value proposition, you need to step up and out of just looking at the positives. You need to embrace the change that comes with failure as opportunities to learn and grow. This needs to be embedded within the company culture, instilling a sense of safety and security. This creates a positive feedback loop, empowering employees to iterate and innovate creatively, which adds a substantial competitive advantage to the team and company.
To effectively build this culture, you need to start with the regular habit of employee recognition embedded in all conversations. Make a conscious effort of acknowledging their efforts. Eventually, it will become a subconscious activity and part of your communication style. Leading by example will ensure the rest of the team follow your lead.
The Business proposition of employee recognition
Receiving regular recognition will impact change for the better. Everything from employee’s commitment and investment in their role to their peer and manager relationships, as well as embracing the core company values. Recognition frequency is proportional to employee happiness and job satisfaction. It creates a flywheel effect which impacts I am making a change, I am valued, growing, and developing, I am contributing to my teams’ success, and perhaps the biggest one… my manager and company trust me.
Given more than 30% of employees are not happy in their role and actively looking or would change, there’s a huge opportunity to embed employee recognition as an easy, low-cost, high-impact strategy for meaningful change and engagement.
What does meaningful employee recognition look like?
Making a conscious effort to prioritise employee recognition in all conversations, feedback, and reviews will ensure all employees are engaged and efforts valued.
Embrace these tips to take your employee recognition strategy to the next level.
1. Get to know your employees.
Everyone is different, and some prefer a personal and private approach. Others prefer the attention that goes with public recognition. The key takeaway is to get to know your employees. Sometimes it’s as simple as asking. What’s the best way to show you we appreciate your efforts? How do you prefer to celebrate a big win?
2. Be specific, be authentic.
Rather than dishing out a generic ‘thanks for coming, put in the effort and focus on the specifics of their contributions. Look at their specific skills and competencies that make the impact. Reference their goals and aspirations. Consider what is important to them. Being specific demonstrates effort and authenticity, making employee recognition all that more powerful.
3. Recognition in real-time.
Make recognition and appreciation daily event, celebrate the targets and big win when they are met. Executing recognition in real-time demonstrates you are paying attention to their efforts and dedication which adds a huge motivational boost.
4. Create a dedicated recognition channel.
Employees respond to a dedicated space for recognising each other. Create a specific peer-to-peer recognition channel on your messaging tool. Reference company values, team goals, and current projects to ensure everyone is aligned and bound to the same journey.
5. Make employee recognition a regular event.
Whether it’s a daily, weekly, or monthly meeting, employees recommend that managers prioritise peer recognition in recurring team moments. For example, conclude regular meetings with each employee recognising their peers.
6. Demonstrate the impact of their efforts.
Painting a clear picture of the impact of employees’ efforts ensures employee engagement. Use KPI’s, client feedback, or how they assisted a peer hit a goal; either way, the recognition demonstrates they are part of a team contributing to the greater good and an asset to the company. So always include a statement of why their effort was significant. Also, evidence-based recognition validates and makes it extra special.
7. The importance of Core Values.
A culture of core values creates a central roadmap for success. It guides the team actions and behaviours towards company goals and success and creates the currency of recognition. Once the team is aligned with core values, you can easily focus on the values in recognition.
The impact of valued and appreciated at work is directly linked to employee engagement and happiness. Creating a culture where recognition is a core behaviour and part of company culture will ensure your employees that feel valued, directly impacting improvements to the top and bottom lines.