We all want to know that we’re making a difference day to day in some way, and showing your employees recognition is about more than just a short, feel-good moment.
Creating an environment where employees receive meaningful recognition can help your people to be more motivated, positive and productive in their work, says SEEK's Resident Psychologist Sabina Read.
Watch the video below for Read’s advice on why recognition matters in the workplace – and the best ways you can provide it to your people.
Why a lack of recognition is risky
At a basic level, recognition gives employees feedback that what they’re doing is desired behaviour, Read says.
Without recognition, employees may not only be missing this important form of feedback that can help them perform their role well – they may also feel underappreciated, or that their work is being ignored.
This can lead to them feeling unmotivated and resentful. Those negative emotions can be contagious, Read adds.
“Then you’re not only dealing with one unmotivated, unrecognised person, but perhaps a whole team.”
How to deliver recognition the right way
It’s easy to think that all recognition is good recognition. But a little thought and planning can help you to recognise your employees in the most effective way.
“It’s important to ensure that the recognition you’re giving to an employee or staff member is meaningful to them,” Read says.
Recognition should be timely, personal and specific in order to be meaningful to employees, Read says. She expands on this and offers some further tips:
- Make it timely. Read says it’s important that feedback is given straight away, so that there’s a strong connection between the recognition and what the employee has done.
- Make it personal. Not everyone wants an announcement involving the whole team – some employees may prefer a quiet, private word between them and their manager. Tailor your feedback to the individual employee. You could use your best judgement as to what you think the employee may prefer. Or, just ask your team ‘How do you prefer to receive recognition?’, keeping their answers on file for future reference.
- Make it part of the team environment. While recognition needs to come from you, it’s something the team can also take part in. Ask employees to let you know if they notice someone doing a great job or embodying the key values of your organisation. “Has someone shown a high level of enthusiasm or inclusivity or creativity? If these are important values to you, then recognise them,” Read says.
- Recognise employees through mentors. Guidance from a mentor can be another great way to show recognition to employees, Read says. If your organisation is small, look further afield to find a mentor who can guide and inspire your employee.
Recognising staff in a way that matters to them takes a bit of thought and planning. But that meaningful, personal recognition will go a long way towards motivating and engaging your employees well into the future.
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