Employees at client organizations and the entities that I lead say “employee recognition” is something they wanted to have more of in their culture. That led me to dig deeper and do more research. Employee recognition is an integral part of building a healthy work culture.
What I discovered was that employee recognition is the most often mentioned word when I ask employees what values would help their organization to reach its potential.
"65 percent of employees said they want more feedback”
When we perform an action, and we wonder, how did I do?
There are distinct types of employee recognition. Moreover, even if you ask somebody how they would like to be recognized, often they do not know until the moment arises. It depends on your needs and any doubts you may have. One of the most significant impacts of employee recognition is that it helps end the uncertainty.
When we wonder, how did I do? If no one says anything about it, unless we are high in self-confidence, we may think,
- Did I do, okay?
- Was that good enough?
- Was it great?
Millennials want constant recognition
One of the knocks today’s leaders have against millennials is that these young professionals want continuous attention. However, there is no sign of any generational differences in the research.
The need for employee recognition is across the board, all way up to the C-Suite. We all need recognition and learning feedback. We want to know if we matter, how well we did, how we can improve, and the contribution we made had any meaning or significance.
Type of employee recognition
There are distinct kinds of recognition and feedback.
Recognition of ‘what’ I did
People want to be thanked. We do not necessarily want a gift card. Team members want you to come up to them and say, “Thank you for putting in the time, effort and your insights that you put into that project, which resulted in X in terms of impact.” It is about saying, I see the contribution you made, and I appreciate you for it. It needs to be specific. You recognize your people for what they did — say “thank you.”
Feedback on the “how” of what I did
Team members want to know what they did well and what they could do better next time. Let them know what specific behaviour they need to continue (or work on changing). Enforce this behaviour in the future. Rather than saying, “good report,” explain what you liked about it. Moreover, offer up learning feedback that you may deem fit.
Recognition is about the “who”
By telling someone why it is crucial that they are on the team, and that “these are the qualities that you bring to our organization, and this is your potential.”
How often, do you recognize your potential? Moreover, many of us have achieved success in our careers because somebody once said to us, “You know, did you ever think about doing this?”
People often see things in us that we do not see in ourselves. Our work with performance traits reveals this repeatedly. Our analytics compare an individual’s performance traits with top performers in hundreds of roles. Few people know their strengths. We assume everyone has these, rather than seeing them as our unique superpowers.
Why are managers stingy with employee recognition?
Since the message is clear that people want to receive more recognition. So, it seems counterintuitive that managers do not recognize people more.
Unfortunately, a manager may feel over overwhelmed by the thought of “now I have to recognize my people.” They see supplying feedback as another item on their lengthy to-do list. Moreover, the fact that they do not have the time to recognize employees is a myth. A simple thank you, takes less than a minute, costs nothing, and pays big dividends.
However, the main reason that an individual does not recognize other people is that they have not been recognized themselves. They do not know how to do it well for others. Moreover, they do not pass it forward. It is essential to understand the difference that your recognition means for other people. Stop thinking, “We’re paying these people. So, why should I have to recognize them too?”
"The net of it all is just that people want to know, do I matter?" — Adam Bryant
Alternatively, the manager thinks sometimes that employee recognition shows favouritism. Managers do not want to get caught in that trap. Furthermore, they may feel that other people are already recognizing the performer, so why would I have to do it too? Some managers believe their behaviour will set a precedent. Alternatively, the employee will see employee recognition as an instant performance review that might invoke a more robust discussion later.
People want to know that they matter. Moreover, people do not necessarily need to hear it weekly or monthly. Gallup found that 68 percent of workers got no recognition in the course of an entire year.
Tips on how to recognize people
Employee recognition must be specific and prompt. Supplying people with feedback a year after the event about something they did well, is a waste of time. Moreover, it would be best if you had the mindset of focusing on what someone is doing right rather than what they may be doing wrong. Supplying prompt feedback helps an employee deploy situational strengths — where they are using his or her superpowers at the right time on on the right things.
I recall chatting with a leader who had received horrible culture scores on the staff survey. At the top of her list were calls from her workforce for more employee recognition. So, she said to her leadership team, “For the next month, all we’re going to focus on catching staff doing something right and then telling them at once. That’s it.” Her insight and this simple action completely transformed the corporate culture. By focusing on the positive, she also opened team members up to hearing about how they might do something better, more comfortable, or differently the next time.
Employee recognition needs to come from a place of gratitude and not to take people for granted. You must ask yourself, “What would it be like if we didn’t have this person here?" Likewise, then recognize that that would be a considerable loss. The other thing is believing in people even if they do not believe in themselves.
Always be honest and sincere
When you provide a team member with learning feedback, be genuine in how you approach them. Regardless of how good the feedback is, when you present it in an apathetic or angry tone, your communication is instantly lost.
Sadly, 44 percent of employees do not think their boss is honest during the feedback process.
It is about the science of positive psychology and a growth mindset. When you engender good feelings in your people, they are:
- more creative
- able to take in more information
- more resilient
The evidence shows how much more productive and useful you are as an individual if you are feeling good about yourself and have a sense of fulfillment.
Get their thoughts
Some people make mistakes because they did not know that they were making a mistake. After offering your learning feedback and explaining the better approach, take the time to ask the employee what they feel needs to be different.
- Do they see their mistake?
- Alternatively, when dealing with positive feedback, what will they do in the future to ensure excellent results?
Aside from creating communication, this approach gives you a view of what they are thinking. Moreover, how employees see the situation. This approach helps feedback in the future. You create a better understanding between you both.
So, when talking about a specific task or time when a mistake happened, be sure to supply the learning feedback as close to the event as possible. Furthermore, tie all the information to this event. It is best that you do not go off on a tangent. Defer unrelated information to until the very end, or even better discuss it later.
The most useful feedback is well prompt. It allows the employee to be able to connect what you are saying and to the actions that occurred.
Also, ensure that when providing learning feedback that you are not offering criticism instead. Furthermore, being constructive centers around letting another person understand how they can improve, not bashing their work in any way. However, 48 percent of employees say that their organization’s performance process is less than adequate in enhancing development. Take note of this fact. Ensure that improvement is your top priority.
Give recognition and positive feedback
Providing learning feedback is not about what a person is doing wrong. It would be best if you also looked at what they have done right. Proving employee recognition is a potent motivator. You encourage employees to continue their excellent work while being more productive.
- 78 percent of employees said that being recognized motivates them in their job
- 69 percent said they would even work harder if they felt their efforts were recognized
It is no wonder then how this helps in improving their work, the work of colleagues around them, and the organization.
Best to be consistent
So, it is best if you are as consistent as possible with your feedback. Your small employee recognition, or nudge in the right direction changes your employee’s day for the better. This approach creates excellence within your workplace.
It would be best for all leaders to recognize that they are the caretakers of the children of all these other people.
This infographic was crafted with love by Officevibe, the employee engagement platform that helps companies understand the return on investment of organizational culture while making employees happier.
Learning feedback is something that can make or break employee performance. In fact, not supplying feedback, is detrimental. When employees feel like their manager ignores them, they are more than twice as likely to be disengaged.
It is essential for leaders to make sure that they are regularly connecting with their people and on an individual basis. However, the dichotomy — there must be some regularity to the employee recognition, but recognition only really works and lands well when it is specific, sincere, and when it is unexpected. Moreover, change up the form of employee recognition you provide to your team members. Most importantly, keep it meaningful. For example, publicly appreciate someone one day and writing a thank-you note another.
Most leaders use positive customer feedback to recognize a star and to suggest others should emulate the behaviour that earned such accolades. I nudge colleagues inside and outside the organization to recognize the team. For example, at a conference, when a speaker does an excellent job or supplies a profound insight, I will email their boss about the performance. Without fail, the boss passed the recognition along to the presenter.
Here is an effective way to consider employee recognition. Imagine your adult child going into your workplace. What would you want them to hear from their leaders?
Offering employees career development opportunities is extremely beneficial
We are incredibly passionate about Performance DNA and the impact this scientific insight can have on your teams and your business.
Using SuccessFinder, people develop a healthy and deep trust in each other and the team's purpose — they feel free to express feelings and ideas. Everybody is working toward the same goals. Team members are clear on how to work together, how to contribute their unique strengths, and how to accomplish tasks.
Given the changes in the way organizations are operating and the shifting demographic composition of the workforce, offering career development opportunities to employees could be extremely beneficial to employers. Informal and formal learning experiences can provide employees with a more comprehensive skill set and reassurance that their employer recognizes their value. With new knowledge and abilities, employees will be better prepared to handle new technologies and innovations and may be able to contribute to enhancing their organization’s systems and procedures.