There is one thing I came into the recognition field to do. That task was to ban saying “good job” as an act of feedback or recognition expression.
Yet they have brainwashed many of us since childhood from home and school, and then into the workplace, to both hear and use those two words.
I am going to explain to you exactly why you must eradicate ever saying the words “good job.” Then I will give a simple way to replace those words. You will feel more confident about being able to give meaningful recognition. And you’ll be perceived as a more genuine recognizer.
Employees want to receive recognition that is memorable and makes them feel good at the same time. Follow these simple strategies and learn how to give memorable recognition to the surrounding people you work with.
1. Start by sharing your gratitude with people. It is important to be optimistic and complimentary of the positive acts and performance you observe around you.
2. Learn to personalize your recognition. Connect with each individual you’re recognizing and energize them with your recognition message uniquely for them.
3. Ensure you give recognition in a timely manner. Work hard at recognizing people as soon as possible after you see their positive actions or they are reported to you.
4. Express your recognition through storytelling. No need to make it too short and sweet when you can tell the story of someone’s accomplishments and how they did it.
5. Focus on making your recognition more positive. Be very specific and selective with your word choice to ensure positive vocabulary and the use of positive vocal inflection.
6. Prepare by questioning your recognition intention. Remember, recognition is always about the recipient and should never be a manipulative technique by the giver.
7. Gauge how effective your recognition is. Pay attention to how well your recognition communication was received and generated a positive reaction.
8. Check out if people felt the recognition given them. Recognition moments are always a felt experience that reinforces and appreciates people.
9. Share the impact people’s actions make. Everyone loves to know how their positive actions and work made a difference to others. So, tell them!
10. Boost people’s pride in themselves and their work. Let people know you appreciate them for who they are and everything they bring to the workplace.
Leaderboards are a type of gaming mechanism that helps learners with goal setting and instilling motivation for learning and performance improvement.
So, how can you design and use leaderboards to socially reinforce the desired performance results you want in the workplace?
I will outline some of the leaderboard mechanics to be aware of and their implications. And I will provide you with a real-world example of a leaderboard that you can emulate and apply in your workplace.
When recognition program owners ask this kind of question, I think they are seeking a one-size-fits-all approach to recognition giving. Whether this is recognition practices of face-to-face recognition or expressing recognition through online recognition programs.
Notice the generalized question asking about “recognition” and to “people”. Those are both very broad terms and very unrealistic.
And I am sure you are lingering to read now exactly how I will answer this question. How much recognition should you give to people?
You would think that giving recognition to people was something pretty easy to do, right?
Unfortunately, even if you get over the resistance and discomfort of recognizing people, there’s another challenge to overcome. That’s the challenge of expressing your recognition the best way possible.
It doesn’t matter how you give your recognition. It could be verbally face-to-face, on the phone, or through videoconferencing. Then again, it might be by text-based, SMS, a handwritten card, or an electronic ecard. Whatever way you do it, I want to recommend that you put more time and care into how you say your recognition.
Your words could make or break the recognition you give people. I don’t think we fully realize the impact our words have on employees. Blogger and author, Rachel Wolchin, said, “Be mindful when it comes to your words. A string of some that don’t mean much to you, may stick with someone else for a lifetime.”
I want you to examine more closely the type of vocabulary you use. Check out the phrasing of your recognition messages more carefully.
If there is one thing that will improve the effectiveness of recognition in your organization, it’s certainly giving recognition to people more often. Put the following practices into place so you increase the number of times recognition happens in the lives of your employees.
The best words you use to express your recognition verbally or by text and writing will add greater meaning to your intended message.
David Hauser, an associate professor at Queen’s University, advises from his research on the semantic effect of word choice to “Simply be aware of the words that you use, because people will make inferences that might not match your intended meaning.”
He further highlights that, “It’s a matter of word choice. You might be better off finding the right word by looking at how most people speak rather than looking in a dictionary or thesaurus.”
I am not suggesting that you get all fancy with how you express recognition. But what is important is to realize that how you recognize people with your word choice can become even better than they are now.
Let’s set the scenario that you haven’t really been very good at giving recognition. It hasn’t been natural for you since you’ve only been a supervisor for less than a year. The leader you report to has set a performance management expectation for you to give more frequent recognition. They based all this on a recent employee engagement survey and the division you’re in didn’t do so well.
Now, HR has recently conducted training to show all supervisors and managers how to use the new online recognition program they launched at the beginning of the year.
But you have a problem. You’ve been hearing from workers that they don’t know how authentic and meaningful your recognition really is.
Here are some potential reasons this might be something you might need to work on.
There is an employee in your organization who just submitted their resignation to HR. They have graciously given a month’s notice before they start their new job.
Now it’s time to do some efficient offboarding following the blindsiding of this unexpected departure. One way to offboard an employee the right way is to invite them to take part in an exit interview. Your intent should be threefold. To learn why they are leaving, what we could have done to prevent this action, and support them in their new direction with an open door for them to always come back.
You will also glean some interesting information about how well valued and appreciated they felt on the job. As you compile and look through all the exit interview reports and the recommendations, your role is to gain a picture of your organization’s recognition efforts.
Let’s look at the exit interview process and the insights on employee recognition you might gain.