I have this great quote on my desk from Jason Goldberg, the American film and television producer, that says, “Find your one thing and do that one thing better than anyone else.”
This has been my goal with employee recognition in trying to understand meaningful and effective recognition practices and how to make recognition programs amazing.
So, how are you going to improve your recognition better than anyone else?
Make Recognition Better
Get better at recognition. We all have weak spots with any behavior or skill. As human beings, we can exercise certain skills and abilities. Where do you need to improve with recognition?
One thing I am doing more of is writing or expressing my gratitude for the amazing things people do for me. Or to even say that I would be grateful if they would help me when making a request of them.
Do you stop to observe the great work people are doing around you? It doesn’t all have to be about work peers. These days we hardly see anyone if you are working from a home office. Thank the cashier at the grocery story. Smile with your eyes at people if you are wearing a mask. Thank your kids and take nothing they do for granted.
Think daily, weekly, and monthly recognition. I thought of a young adult from where I live away at university who came down with the COVID-19 virus this week. I thought of Facebook messaging her and letting her know that my wife and I were praying for her to recover quickly. It took less than 30 seconds. Don’t put off expressing, messaging, emailing, ecarding, or giving recognition when you know you should.
I’ve taken the time to advance schedule sending out ecards on our online recognition platform for birthdays and career service milestones. Now, I never miss them.
How can you improve with your recognition giving on a weekly basis? Calendar what you think you will do into your smartphone or online calendar. Don’t just write it down on a to do list. Plan it in on the calendar so it gets done, and it reminds you what you said you will do.
Be aware of people around you. Interact regularly with those you work with. I picked up the phone and called a friend and colleague of mine to ask a specific question on behalf of a client. The conversation flowed into asking how things were going for them. There were some rough spots for them this week with clients and internal challenges. I could hear how they were feeling. I gave them some ideas on how they could express concern and frustration without pointing fingers. They were grateful for the few minutes’ of conversation that made their day.
More connections equal more recognition. Connect with people you work with through your chat and messenger systems, or through email. Pick up the phone or schedule a videoconference call. The bottom line is the more frequently you can connect with a manager, your peers, and others, the more often you are going to hear of outstanding things that deserve to be recognized.
Learn more about people. Life isn’t all about productivity and performance. What is going on in their life? How are their children doing? Are there any home or family concerns to be aware of? How is working from home affecting them? What makes them happy right now at work?
Sometimes, the periodic listening ear or a simple, caring question can open up an avenue for concern and empathy.
Find out their favorite things. While recognition does not always have to be expressed tangibly, if all you ever do is express recognition verbally, with no actions to prove how you feel, some people might get turned off by your recognition.
Learn their favorite treats, the best drink they like, find out about the sports team they follow. Now use these or any other item with your expression of recognition. Show you appreciate them by something tangible.
Better Than Anyone Else
Personalization from you. What is something that helps people know that recognition is from you? Is it the words you choose? Do you leave messages on a customized and printed note card or PostIt® Note? Think of a trademark item or action you could create that helps people know you are the one that recognized them.
Personalization to them. Use a person’s preferred name. Respect whether they want their recognition in public or given privately. Find out from a family member, partner, or close friend, the things that are most meaningful to them. Sit down with an employee and ask them how you could improve recognition for them.
Two Part Specificity Rule™. Throw out using “good job” or “well done” ever again. Make your recognition more meaningful and effective by recognizing people, by telling them specifically what it was they did. Then tell them specifically the impact or difference their actions made on someone. No more generic phrases—get specific.
Look people in the eye. If you’re not doing it already, stop when you give recognition and confidently look that person in the eye and thank them for what they are doing. The eye continues to be the window of the soul and allows you to transmit the positive feelings you feel on to another person.
Give recognition because you can. What triggers or reminders can you set up for yourself, so you don’t forget to recognize people? How will you keep recognition top of mind? Would teaching someone you work with a skill or recognition practice you want to improve upon help you? The key is keeping recognition top of mind. Turn everything you do into a recognition opportunity.
Make recognition improvement simple by working on just one thing to make recognition better for you and for others.
Recognition Reflection: What is one thing you can do to make recognition better?
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.