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people clappingHave you ever heard one of your employees say something like this, or perhaps even said it yourself?   “You can doo 100 things right and not hear a darn thing about it.  But do just one thing wrong and they’re right on your back.” 

Do you think your employees would make this statement about you and/or your organization?

If you secretly said “yes” in your head…keep reading as your organization could probably benefit from a crash course on the importance of effective Employee Recognition.  If “no” was your response, keep up the good work…however a little refresher never hurt.

Appreciation is a fundamental human need.  Employees respond to appreciation expressed through recognition of their good work because it confirms their work is valued.  When employees and their work are valued, their satisfaction and productivity rises, and they are motivated to maintain or improve their good work.  Sounds like a “win-win” situation for everyone involved, doesn’t it?

So, why is it so hard to give meaningful recognition for a job well done?

I think many people would agree that recognition is not an innate behavior… it is learned.  In order to improve giving recognition, lets look a little closer at what it really is.  Employee recognition is the timely, informal or formal acknowledgement of a person’s or team’s behavior, effort or business result that supports the organization’s goals and values and which has clearly been beyond normal expectations. 

There are two aspects to employee recognition.  The first aspect is to actually see, identify or realize an opportunity to praise someone.  If you are not in a receptive frame of mind you can easily pass over many such opportunities.  This happens all too frequently.  The other aspect of employee recognition is, of course, the physical act of doing something to acknowledge and praise people for their good work.

For many employees, receiving sincere thanks is more important than receiving something tangible.  Here are five easy but important steps to follow when recognizing an individual for their effort:

  1. Thank the person by name.

  2. Specifically state what they did that is being recognized.  It is vital to be specific because it identifies and reinforces the desired behavior.

  3. Explain how the behavior made you feel.

  4. Point out the value added to the team or organization by the behavior.

  5. Thank the person again by name for their contribution.

Employees enjoy recognition through personal, written, electronic and public praise from those they respect at work, given in a timely, specific and sincere way.  This “day-to-day” recognition is the most important type of recognition.

Lastly, it is important to remember that employee recognition is a huge communication component.  Recognizing people for their good work sends an extremely powerful message to the recipient, their work team and other employees through the grapevine and formal communication channels…thus greater employee satisfaction and enjoyment of work.  This translates into more time spent focusing on the job and less time complaining. 

So here is a challenge for you:  Within the next 30 days (hopefully it won’t take you that long) put yourself into a receptive frame of mind and identify an opportunity to praise someone in your organization.  Recognize their efforts using the five steps listed above.  Then, keep it up…continue to celebrate successes in your organization!

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