You are probably aware how the Gallup Q12 Index asks a great recognition related question in their measure of employee engagement.
They ask the question, “In the last seven days, have you received recognition or praise for doing good work?”
So let’s pretend your company conducts the Gallup Q12 survey or a similar evaluation tool. A year later nothing has changed with your lack of recognition. What are you then supposed to do then?
I think we’ve created a very dependent and needy world. We are too dependent on our smartphone notifications and automated communications. There’s perhaps an entitlement mentality where we’re thinking others are always expected to do things to us, or for us.
But what if the recognition and praise doesn’t come your way? Is there anything you can do to correct this?
My goal in this post is to put you in charge of getting the praise and recognition you deserve when you want it.
Let’s first examine the Gallup question in more detail. In taking a deeper dive on whether in the last seven days you’ve been recognized or praised for the good work you’ve done, there are several elements there that can help you get recognized.
First, how often do you like to receive praise or recognition?
Recognition is not and never will be a cookie cutter experience. How often I like to be recognized is completely different from how frequently you like to be recognized.
Yes, the average suggestion is to be recognized at least on a weekly basis. Implied in the question is the idea that the source of the recognition is your immediate supervisor or manager.
If you’re like me, I’m mostly a remote employee with traveling in between. My source of recognition mainly comes from all those whom I serve on a daily basis that my boss rarely even knows about.
Figure out how often you like to be recognized, specifically by your immediate supervisor or manager.
How meaningful is peer recognition to you and at what frequency would you like them to express appreciation to you?
And what about your customers – whether internal or external customers? How frequently do like acknowledgment from them?
Start calculating the weighted value behind the source of the recognition as well as the frequency you prefer from each person. This will help you with the fourth step.
Know your frequency preference for recognition.
Second, What does ideal praise or recognition look like to you?
My friend, Dr. Paul White, co-author of The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, demonstrates in their book that we all speak different languages when it comes to praise and recognition.
You need to self-evaluate and determine whether you are a Words of Affirmation person; if Tangible Gifts are important to you; or whether you crave Quality Time, and with whom; perhaps even Acts of Service are meaningful to you; and while Quality Touch is another language, we all understand the level of appropriateness this language requires and it may not be applicable in the workplace.
Bottom-line is to clarify what your preferences are for the type of recognition and praise that resonates with you the most.
Consider that, on average, approximately 25 percent of employees do not like public recognition. Some people are more introverted than others. Certain job roles will expect more prestigious recognition than other people.
Spell out the type of recognition you want the most.
Third, How would you define good work?
Some people can negate the recognition given to them by saying lines like, “I was just doing my job.” While they might want to accept the recognition given them there is a point where ordinary work might not merit praise.
What does going above and beyond look like to you? Or when do you feel your work should be acknowledged? How much of a contribution do you need to make before you expect someone to recognize you?
There is no doubt, that for me, I need to complete a task that was challenging – that made me stretch in my abilities. It has to be something that impacted others and made a difference to many people. I am happy when I have been able to help others.
That’s when I’m grateful to be appreciated.
Determine for yourself and others when you merit recognition.
Fourth, Are you ready to ask for it?
My wife can tell you that one of my favorite words to use is, “Ask!”
It is a great principle for many things in life. If you don’t ask you won’t get and you’ll never know.
You may have to tell people that you want to receive more frequent praise and recognition – please and thank you!
- Share with colleagues and managers how you like to receive recognition. Tell them the type of appreciation you like the most. Let them know if you approve of surprises or not. Advise them whether you need to hear some words of praise more frequently. Identify who you like to be recognized by the most.
- Schedule a one-on-one meeting with your immediate supervisor or manager to let them know your recognition preferences. Describe your need for praise and recognition and why it is important to you. Remember that awareness building is half of the solution to change.
- Solicit feedback in person, by email, or over the phone, following the completion of a major task. You’ll receive great insights on your performance, suggestions for what you can do in the future, and most likely, some positive feedback.
- Tell your supervisor or manager, at the right time, such as at a performance review or during your one-on-one meeting, if you are disappointed with the lack of recognition you receive from them. If they don’t know they will never change.
- At a staff or team meeting suggest that employees rotate sharing positive feedback about one member of the team. You’ll eventually receive acknowledgment when it comes around to your turn to be the recipient.
Nothing will change with you be recognized well and often enough until you change something too.
Recognition Reflection: Are you recognized the way you like to be and often enough for the great things you do?
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.