Don’t Forget to Repeat the Recognition One More Time

This is such an important recognition practice to get a handle on.

Neglect doing it at your own risk. Otherwise, you’ll lose out on your recognition of ever being memorable, meaningful, and motivational. 

What am I talking about? It’s my recommendation that you repeat your recognition one more time whenever necessary. I’ll explain the first time I heard of the problem.

It was my first large training contract for a major Canadian manufacturer in Ontario. I start all of my preparations for multiple training sessions like this with interviews of leaders and managers. 

One leader shared an experience he heard about from one of his managers.  

Case Scenario: Context for Repeating Recognition 

The manager had appropriately emailed a message of appreciation to an employee on the factory floor for doing above and beyond work performance. They did this in the morning. Everything went well, and the employee acknowledged the email. This manager emailed because they rarely interact face-to-face with staff regularly.

Now for the rest of the story. 

This manager had to meet with some supervisors on the floor that afternoon. He also updated the very employee he had recognized that morning with revised work order requirements.  

Here’s the clincher. He said nothing to the employee about the amazing work done that he had previously acknowledged by email. Nothing. 

What was the employee’s perception and experience? The lack of secondary acknowledgment when face-to-face in the afternoon discounted what had been a meaningful expression of recognition received in the morning.

That is why I always recommend that you repeat the recognition one more time whenever the need arises.

Some Typical Reasons for Repeating Recognition

Here are a few other situations to keep in mind. See if they crop up in your daily work life. Consider applying a repeat recognition practice when they occur.

1. Going from Digital to Face-To-Face: As you saw in the above situation, one reason you need to express recognition again is when you acknowledge someone virtually, or digitally, and then you see them face-to-face. Anytime you read about recognition of an employee online and then you interact with them later on, recognize them again. 

2. Extending the Recognition Experience: There’s a tremendous benefit to having a senior leader send a personal message of congratulations after a formal award event. You can have them do this through your social recognition program. Or get them to send a signed personalized letter to the employee. If they took a photo at the awards event, have the leader include this with the letter.

3. One-on-One to Public Arena: First, you must know the personal recognition preferences of all your employees. If you already know someone is comfortable with small or large group recognition, then you are prepared. You have already praised an employee in person, verbally or online. This same employee is now in a virtual meeting with you. Acknowledge their work and positive actions to the team in the meeting.

4. Second-Hand Compliments: This is where you hear about the great things and positive behaviors of employees from other leaders and managers. Now it is your turn to continue the recognition giving, by telling the employee how you just heard from so-and-so about their amazing actions. Relay the colleague’s recognition and how proud you are of them, too. 

5. Concluding Presentation Remarks: Let the individual recognition experience be more specific and memorable. Your initial comments will be a little longer and explanatory for those in attendance. At the end of a specific award section, or at the conclusion of the award ceremony, the leader or emcee can give a general expression of thanks by name to all the award winners. 

In fact, a strategy to keep in mind as a recognition practice is to look for opportunities to repeat the recognition one more time as often as possible.

Recognition Reflection: Have you witnessed lost recognition opportunities because someone neglected to repeat the recognition? 

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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