Recognize Like You Mean It

Recognition is in the Eye of the Recognized

Employees are people; people need to feel appreciated; appreciation needs to be meaningful; meaningful appreciation in personalized. In other words, saying thank you effectively requires some thought if you want to engage employees, awaken their latent talents and drive their discretionary input. Haphazardly doling out off-handed atta-boys/atta-girls doesn’t cut it.

Help us build a library of ideas – Share the ways you’ve received and given meaningful appreciation. We will compile all ideas and send you a complimentary copy.

If you’re questioning why they need recognition at all since they’re lucky to have jobs, then read this.

Holistic recognition is an effective strategy for employee retention and creating a culture that maximizes employee talent. Employees may or may not contribute what I call “discretionary input”—additional effort that is tied to their motivation to perform an activity. Feeling appreciated is a powerful factor in driving an employee to contribute discretionary effort.

As for retention, if you ask people why they left a company (with or without a better offer), they’ll most often tell you that they didn’t feel they were making a difference. They don’t say, “I didn’t get recognized” or “I didn’t get an incentive.” They say, “I didn’t feel appreciated.”

Appreciation is like recognition, but at a deeper, more long-term level. It’s all about a constant presence—products and programs designed to show appreciation for employees. It begins with onboarding to stimulate connection to the company at the beginning of the employee relationship. It’s an effective strategy for eliminating wasted training dollars in connection with employees who leave in six months because of a weak or no connection.

Companies unwittingly create appreciation gaps by:

  • Not paying attention to the importance of frequency and consistency of recognition.
  • Not coaching/mentoring managers in how to structure a presentation of meaningful appreciation.
  • Creating one-size-fits-all recognition.

Here are more ideas for closing the appreciation gap:

  • Extend recognition beyond outcomes. Acknowledge the effort that people put forth—the behaviors that lead to positive outcomes.
  • Help managers/presenters structure presentations with a guide/tool box that includes how-to information about making their presentations unique to the recipient (those that love the limelight or are quiet and reserved, what will make them feel special, what excites them).
  • Personalize all recognition.

Include a variety of appreciation opportunities such as service anniversaries, peer-to-peer, personal milestones (birthday, new baby, etc.), customer service excellence, safety record, etc.

A choice of appreciation awards makes recognition meaningful.

Recognition should acknowledge the recipient’s specific actions.

  • Avoid gift cards that say, “Go buy stuff,” as they may not be the best recognition tools.

A cultural thing

A culture that includes meaningful appreciation is rich and more deeply connects employees with their company. Howie Milstein, CEO of MediStim, explains it well: “A great place to work is one where ideas flow freely, progress comes easily and people wake up excited to come to work every morning. You don’t create such a culture with salaries, benefits and bonuses alone—you do it by noticing and rewarding people who achieve.”

What more could your company do to convey meaningful appreciation? If you’d like to learn about proven ideas/programs we’ve created and Implemented, call us.

We are problem solvers and innovators when it comes to shaping recognition that comes from your head and heart. We’ll help you implement down-to-earth strategies that are aligned with your company objectives, brand, message and voice. Call us.

Toll free: 800-742-6800      In Minneapolis/St. Paul: 952-933-8365