Recognition can be powerful for both employees and managers. Managers can recognize employees in three simple ways to boost morale and productivity. Waiting to give feedback during performance evaluations or during other time-based activities such as award ceremonies, can actually backfire—employees who aren’t recognized in a timely manner for their efforts may wrongly believe that management doesn’t value their efforts or worse yet, that management lacks the ability or know-how to properly manage. David Novak, the co-founder and retired Chairman and CEO of Yum! Brands and the founder of OGO (O Great One!), explains that recognition is about bringing out the best in people. His work involved the privilege of leading Yum! Brands as they built a recognition culture across more than 125 countries. He believes showing recognition can be both simple and inexpensive. I agree and ask you to consider if any of the following can work for you:
Publicly Recognize Employees Periodically
How often do meetings begin with reviewing agendas and getting down to business without acknowledging anything positive? Before diving into meetings, consider if taking a few minutes to recognize recent, exceptional work is appropriate—as managers, you are setting the tone for the meeting and for employee behavior. While it may not be appropriate to do so regularly, beginning select meetings by acknowledging recent positive activities and outstanding work may help inspire employees and remind them of their value.
Thank Employees Unexpectedly
Many organizations have scheduled opportunities for managers to officially recognize employees. Annual awards programs, certificates of completion or other tokens of appreciation given to employees are intended to show the organization’s appreciation. Such programs and activities may be viewed positively and over time, employees expect that they will continue. They also become ingrained within organizational culture. The power of unexpected appreciation can be quite impactful. Most employees understand that their managers are extremely busy. Consider if stopping by employee offices just to thank them for specific activities can work for you. By doing so, you are telling employees that they are valued and that they are important to you and to the organization.
Use Recognition to Build Upon Contributions and Strengths
Recognition can be powerful for both employees and managers. It can also be useful to motivate employees and improve morale. Performance can exceed expectations when managers align employee gifts, passions and goals with the organizations goals and activities. Consider if your organization’s goals can better tap into employee strengths to maximize performance while increasing loyalty and motivation. Use one-on-one meetings to discover what employees are passionate about and if they can identify any ways to better leverage their strengths in their work.
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