4 Ways To Be Crystal Clear About The Recognition You Give

Be careful when expressing recognition not to be too brief.

Statements like “Well done!”, “Great job!”, or “Excellent!”, when left in isolation, may not be enough to create the intended message or feeling of appreciation for a person.

The irony is, while we may think we were perfectly clear by giving such succinct words of praise to a person, recipients may think they can see right through them.

They already know what they did was well done and a great job. That’s exactly what they do every day when they come to work. It’s part of the employer-employee agreement they signed up for when hired – do good work and you’ll get paid the agreed upon wage or salary. They are good people who are honest and care about what they do.

Sometimes we sacrifice clarity in the recognition experience we give to people by being short and sweet.

My recommendation is to look through the glass of recognition carefully and make it much clearer.

1. Describe the behaviors the person displayed in their action on the job that stood out for you, and possibly even wowed you.

If it is simply their consistency in coming in early every day and knowing they are someone you can always count on – tell them that. If they went above and beyond in how they served a customer in the store this morning, retell the movie script of what you saw them do so they know you observed everything they did.

2. Differentiate how someone went above and beyond from what others most typically do in a respectful yet worth enhancing manner.

We can often talk about an individual’s exceptional, above and beyond performance at work. This warrants comparing above and beyond with normal acceptable work. Can you tell the difference? Then let the employee know as well. Now not only does the recipient of recognition know but so will every other employee too. You have raised the bar and set the standard for everyone else.

3. Create the line of sight between an individual’s actions and the achievement of strategic goals and directives.

Employees are not always mindful of the business objectives senior leaders are constantly aware of. When an employee moves the dial on performance for some strategic initiative make sure you let them know. People need to see how their behaviors connect the dots to the bottom-line.

4. Add purpose and meaning to the contributions people make each and every day.

All of us want to make a difference in some shape or form whether in a small and simple way or a big and significant way. When an employee’s action merit being acknowledged, tell them specifically how their behaviors are meaningful to you, or to a customer, perhaps to their colleagues, or even to the company as a whole.

If you start by saying “Well done!” to someone don’t stop there. Continue on with one of these add ons so they really know why you are recognizing them.

Always make it crystal clear what the recognition is all about.

Q: How do you ensure your recognition is always crystal clear to a person?

Roy is no longer writing new content for this site (he has retired!), but you can subscribe to Engage2Excel’s blog as Engage2Excel will be taking Roy’s place writing about similar topics on employee recognition and retention, leadership and strategy.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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