Receiving recognition for achievements is one of the most fundamental human requirements. Effective leaders know the importance of recognition and the role it plays in reinforcing the accomplishments of employees, ensuring there will be more of them. They are able to get the best out of people by:
- Setting high expectations for themselves and their employees
- Having the self-confidence to help employees achieve those expectations
- Linking employees’ performance with recognition they receive
- Being creative relative to the modes of recognition
- Modeling a positive and hopeful outcome
Effective leaders tend not to give up on their people because they recognize doing so leads to them giving up on themselves. Through their belief system in people they set up the self-fulfilling prophecy that all employees no matter what role they play they can achieve extraordinary results. They see how constant feedback and recognition help employees celebrate the small wins. In doing so employees feel proud of their accomplishments and desire to be the best they can be! They can then see the value in what they do. There is no better way to build commitment to action then to take the time to honor and recognize accomplishments and successes.
According to the Hudson Employment Index, workers still consider a competitive pay and benefits package to be indispensable, but employers need to offer more than that to keep employees satisfied and on the job. Nearly all of the employees surveyed (96 percent) rated a fair salary as very or somewhat important and 93 percent said the same for benefits. However, when relationships with their boss are less than optimal and when they do not feel valued or recognized for what they do, they are more than likely to look for a new job than when their salary and benefits are poor. Intangible factors are becoming more important to employees. They require having a purpose and to this end a new phrase is being introduced to the workplace. Employees are now being called ‘purpose partners’ a phrase coined by Jack Lannom author of People First. In his book Jack talks about the importance of honoring the human spirit.
Employees are looking to be part of something. They are looking for a deep connection since many identify who they are by what they do. Often times their jobs define whom they are and if they do not feel a sense of pride as it relates to what they do; and, if they are not recognized for their contributions, they will begin to question their worth and their purpose. As organizations have a purpose/mission, so do individuals and when those two things are in alignment, balance is achieved and everyone benefits. Employees know when they come into work everyday they are making a difference. They are totally connected, focused and engaged. When this happens energy levels are high, communication is clear and frequent, and employees want to stay.
Employees become energized and engaged when they know they are part of something exciting and meaningful. They want to know they have made a difference and have added value. When this occurs their creative energies will flourish and you will be able to achieve extraordinary results.
New research on organization climate shows a powerful link between feelings and performance. Assessing customer service, productivity, and retention, finds 57.7% of the difference between low and high performance is predicted by five climate factors. One of those key factors is recognition. In high performing cultures recognition means more than money, and employees are appreciated in many different ways. According to the latest research, nearly nine out of ten companies offer some sort of recognition program for employees from informal programs (a simple thank you) to formal programs (such as service recognition or above and beyond performance programs). Companies are using everything from plaques to vacation packages, merchandise to spa certificates as a way to say ‘nice job’. No matter what you have chosen as your way of recognizing employees ensure the intent behind it is pure. In other words, don’t just go through the motions. Let employees know you really care and really do appreciate what they do.
As you consider your organization, take the time to review your recognition practices (if it has been a while since you’ve done that). Ask yourself these questions. What is the intent of our recognition programs? Are they being practiced across the entire organization? Is everyone being recognized or just a chosen few? Do our programs include both informal and formal practices
Other steps to consider are:
* Identify if there are healthy practices (informal and formal) going on in areas of your organization. Are there leaders who are recognizing their employees; and, if so, what are they doing? Share these approaches with other leaders in the organization via focus groups, staff meetings and/or management newsletters.
* Determine if you have formal guidelines that govern how employees are recognized. If so, have they been reviewed recently? If not, take the time to review your current practices, define the intent of your programs and determine if what you have in place still applies. Are they still effective? Are they well communicated? Are all leaders (directors, managers, supervisors) aware of the programs? Decide as a leadership team if this is something you value. If it is, then all leaders at all levels must be held accountable for taking the time to recognize employees for the work they do. It must be part of the performance expectation.
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Related to Fundamental Human Requirement – Recognition