Employee Recognition: Treating it Right

Providing the right amount of recognition is tricky, learn signs to watch to get it right.

“That’s her job. Why should I thank her for something that she’s already getting paid to do?” It’s a question I get frequently. Managers are wondering whether they should provide recognition for something that’s just part of the normal job requirement. In this video, I’m going to address that question providing context for why and when recognition and praise is appropriate and valuable.

Perhaps you think a paycheck is adequate acknowledgement in return for work that someone was just hired to do, or that executing the job requirements is just part of being employed and therefore a thank you is only really necessary when somebody goes above and beyond or does something extra special. Certainly money is an important component to employment, but it doesn’t fill a basic human need we have for acknowledgement and appreciation. Saying thank you to others is a critical way to provide feedback, especially if it’s something that we appreciate.

When we start to train a puppy to learn new skills such as sit or stay we offer a reward for the behavior that we want. It might be food or toys, something that they find enjoyable. Over time, we can diminish the frequency of that reward, but if we give it up all together we can create a situation where the dog begins to lose excitement about the activity or perhaps even forgets what’s important. In the absence of any communication humans also start to feel underappreciated and perhaps unnoticed. They start to question if their loyalty and hard work even matter. An unsure employee can start to look elsewhere other opportunities.

We talked about the value of recognition, so now let’s talk about some ways to effectively deliver it. Everybody differs so sometimes it feels it possible to get this right, but the best rule of thumb is to always think about the individual who will be receiving the praise, not how you yourself would like to deliver. Some individuals crave public recognition. Even if you think it might be overkill, always keep in mind the person who’s going to be receiving it. Others prefer quiet recognition and don’t need the fanfare. Some people will tell you that they don’t need that recognition, but they will always appreciate the fact that you do offer it.

Appreciation must be authentic and it has to be aligned with the accomplishment. For example, you’re not going to thank the seasoned employee every single day for mundane tasks that are part of his routine work assignment, but on an occasional basis you could absolutely provide a thank you and appreciation noticing the consistency and the quality of the work that he does and seems seamless. When an employee goes above and beyond, surpasses normal expectations, it’s really important to say thank you. It not only shows your appreciation, but it encourages that employee for continued achievement. It turns out dogs and people both enjoy a good treat for a job well done!

Be sure to check out other videos in the Learning Resource Center available to you as a member. Here’s to your graceful leadership!

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