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Sep-26-2022 18:01printcomments

The Dos and Don'ts of Employee Recognition

Dedicate a few minutes every day to simply express gratitude

employee appreciation

(SALEM, Ore.) - There are times of the year when you might recognize all of your employees. For example, Employee Appreciation Day is in March, and it also often includes that entire week leading up to the actual day.

You might recognize employees on their birthdays or for special anniversaries with the company. Then, there are other times when you recognize employees for a job well done.

Recognition is a critical component of retention. Employees want and need to be recognized sincerely and authentically for their contributions to the workplace.

The following are some of the dos and don’ts of modern employee recognition and appreciation.

Do Be Timely

When you recognize employees for something specific, make sure that you’re timely about it. As soon as an employee meets whatever the criteria are for recognition, reward them, praise them or recognize them in whatever way is in line with your company culture.

When you recognize someone immediately after they achieve something, it serves as a reinforcement for them and for other employees.

You should be giving recognition and showing appreciation often, and that means you might be recognizing employees daily, monthly, and annually.

Don’t Be Inauthentic or Too General

Inauthenticity is the worst thing you can do when it comes to recognizing employees for something. People know when individuals around them aren’t being authentic.

You want to make sure anytime you’re recognizing, thanking, or appreciating any employee, whether formally or informally, you’re coming from a place of complete sincerity.

Also, be as specific as possible. You want to personalize the recognition to the individual and avoid generalizations.

Do Encourage Peer-to-Peer Recognition

While everyone loves to feel like their supervisor or boss is recognizing their achievements and hard work, you also want to promote it among coworkers. When coworkers recognize each other, it fosters more collaboration and camaraderie.

There are numerous ways you can encourage people who work for you to celebrate and recognize one another.

For example, maybe you set up an old-fashioned dropbox where people can share and recognize others, or you could do it digitally.

If you have a formalized peer recognition program, create awareness about it and publicize it. Mention and advertise it frequently and share with your team what the benefits are.

You can make it fun for employees too. For example, maybe you incentivize people so that they look forward to both sending and receiving peer recognition.

You want to make sure peer recognition is inclusive. You can do this by encouraging both individual and team or departmental recognition.

Do Recognize Employees Based On Their Preferences

All recognition isn’t the same, and some employees have different preferences for how they receive it. For example, some employees like to be publicly recognized, while others don’t.

When you take the time to learn the preferences of your employees, this is going to make your recognition of them come off as more thoughtful and specific. You’re eliminating the concept of generic recognition that loses meaning.

To recognize employees based on their preferences, you’re going to have to get to know them on a more personal level, and that’s going to have value in other parts of your business.

You’ll form stronger relationships with them, so you’re more likely to retain them. You can also learn more about what motivates them, so you can create a workforce that’s productive and engaged.

For example, as part of learning more about preferences for recognition, you can also explore what types of work energize them, what they feel most proud of, and whether they tend to be more outgoing or shy.

Don’t Just Recognize Achievement

Yes, the achievement is, of course, something you want to recognize, but you want to recognize other things as well. For example, maybe you recognize someone for putting in extra time to work on a project or going beyond what their job requires.

You can also recognize things like someone who is a great team player and is willing to collaborate with coworkers.

Do Ask for Feedback On Your Recognition Program

Many organizations don’t necessarily do employee recognition well because they don’t ask for feedback.

You should talk to your employees personally and also ask them to complete surveys to know more about whether your employees feel valued and if you could make changes to how you recognize them.

Don’t Recognize People Who Don’t Deserve It

It sounds like something any manager or boss would know, but there is a temptation in many cases to give recognition to everyone, no matter whether they deserve it or not. That’s going to dilute the effect of recognition and render it essentially meaningless.

You need to think it through before recognizing anyone, and you want to make sure that you’re not simply recognizing people for doing the bare minimum.

Don’t Criticize Publicly

It’s great to recognize publicly when employees deserve it but criticizing publicly is something you should never do. Praise people in public but criticize them privately.

Do Be Creative

There are a lot of ways to make recognition efforts creative, and you should personalize things whenever possible. If you’re not being creative and you’re giving a generic set of praise to everyone no matter what their contribution is, then it’s going to end up having more of a negative effect than a positive one.

You can celebrate personal milestones, you can have a happy hour, you can send company-wide emails, or you can recognize employees at a banquet-style event.

Do Make It a Habit

Finally, make recognition and showing appreciation a habit in your workplace. Dedicate a few minutes every day to simply express gratitude to the people who work for you. Just telling them thank you can go a long way.

You can also write thank you notes to employees when they reach a goal or accomplish something specific.

It becomes easier and easier to say thank you the more you do it, and you’re going to be creating a much stronger, happier workplace overall.

Source: Special Features Dept.


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