How Frequently Should You Give Recognition?

One of the amazing findings coming out of surveying employees about recognition is the fact that so few people feel sufficiently recognized.

You are probably aware of Gallup’s “Q12 Employee Engagement” survey. They have a recognition question which asks, “In the last 7 days I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.” It seems reasonable that a person should be acknowledged at least weekly. All people want is to be recognized or praised for their progress, some positive action, or recognized for contributions made.

Gallup organization found this one question was responsible for 10 to 20 percent of the difference in the measures of productivity, revenue, and customer loyalty.

Yet, in one particular year, 65 percent of employees in a Gallup poll said they had received no recognition at all that year.

You and I should be able to find something to recognize in each of our employees at least once in any given week.

For example, in one healthcare organization I consulted with the survey results back from a majority of the employees revealed how frequently they wanted to be recognized and yet how poorly they actually received recognition.

Let’s take a look.

Actual Frequency of Recognition Received

I asked across all job classifications at least how often these healthcare employees received recognition across various timeframes.

This is the outcome on this question:

Daily:                      2 percent

Weekly:                 11 percent

Quarterly:            20 percent

Annually:              17 percent

Not at all:             29 percent

It would appear only 13 percent of employees would fit the Gallup criteria of being recognized once a week. The scary part from the results was well over one quarter of all employees claimed not to receive any recognition at all

Preference Levels of Desired Recognition

Employees were also asked if their immediate supervisor or manager recognized them frequently enough. Remember the context here is strictly healthcare but it should raise some flags for you to consider how your employees would respond.

Here are the results on this question:

Not frequently enough:                39 percent

Almost frequently enough:          15 percent

About the right amount:              42 percent

A little too frequently:                     2 percent

Much too frequently:                       1 percent

Notice only 42 percent felt they received about the right amount of recognition while 39 percent clearly said they were not recognized frequently enough. Fascinating that 3 percent of employees indicated they were recognized a little or much too frequently.

This subjective indication provides insight for all of us to consider with giving more frequent recognition to others.

Ways To Raise the Recognition Frequency

Put the following practices into place so you can increase the number of times recognition happens in the lives of your employees.

  1. Make recognition giving a personal commitment to be a way of life for you versus making it too programmatic.
  1. Measure how you are doing with giving recognition. Guess how well you do and then compare by keeping a tally of how often you recognize your employees each week.
  1. As a nice first thing-in-the-morning gesture, bring in a selected employee’s favourite hot (or cold) drink prepared how they like it.
  1. Don’t open your inbox in the morning until you write an email expressing gratitude to an employee for their assistance and the good things they do for you and others.
  1. You might need to create a notification reminder in your smartphone, device or computer to keep recognition top of mind or cue you to recognize someone.
  1. At the end of each workday, pause and think about who deserved to be recognized today? Now go act upon those impressions.
  1. Go out and buy some note/thank you cards, colored markers and postage stamps. At the end of each day send someone who deserves it a handwritten note of appreciation.
  1. Be on the lookout or listen for conversations identifying the needs of your people and do something appropriate to demonstrate concern or provide support to them.
  1. When you have a staff or shift meeting, begin the time together by acknowledging a specific, above and beyond performance of someone you were made aware of.
  1. Instil in all employees the idea of expressing appreciation to team members for work, help and outstanding things that go on that you personally can’t know about.

Question: How do you manage to give daily 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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