Learning To Give Recognition The Right Way Every Time

Giving recognition to people the right way every time is an experience that requires vigilance in doing several things very well.

The following 7 areas need to be done right, consistently, in order to make recognition as positive and meaningful of an experience as possible for each recognition recipient.

Examine the following factors and learn to apply them carefully.

  1. Right Intention. Why are you giving people recognition? To have the right intent you have to believe recognition is important and the right thing to do. You must be giving recognition for the benefit and impact of the individual being recognized. Recognition is not about you or putting yourself on a pedestal through recognizing someone else.
  2. Right Setting. Recognition requires the right setting to make it meaningful and memorable. This requires you finding out the recipients recognition preferences. Do they want a public setting or private, one-on-one recognition or with a few others? Would it better to have planned recognition or to make it a total surprise? And don’t forget to consider whether specific people need to be present or not.
  3. Right Voice. Yes, vocal quality and tone of voice have been shown to be strong indicators of recognition effectiveness. Tone of voice substantially affects people’s judgment of positive statements people make. Show genuine enthusiasm and excitement in your voice when recognizing people. Make sure you are positive and warm in your interactions versus negative and cold.
  4. Right Words. How you say things speaks volumes. Use “I talk” versus “You talk” phrases. So say “I like how you designed that sales document” versus “You designed a great sales document.” People believe what YOU think but can downplay themselves implied when you start with “you”. Use positive vocabulary and refrain from sarcasm or using “but” statements that negate positive feedback.
  5. Right Actions. I’ve talked about respecting individual recognition preferences. Right actions also include using a person’s preferred name in presentations. And don’t forget to show positive nonverbal gestures when giving recognition such as caring eye contact and meaningful hand shaking. Be mindful of cultural norms where you work that may be different than yours.
  6. Right People. Having the right people present helps enhance the recognition experience. You should know the employee’s attitudes towards various leaders, supervisors and managers. If it would be more meaningful and schedules permit invite positional leaders to be present. Think about close friends and peers who should be on hand. And some recognition warrants inviting significant others, such as family.
  7. Right Things. Take time and care on giving the right things to people whether as an award or simply a token of appreciation. Make sure you have a variety of gift items available for them to choose from in your recognition programs. And when in doubt find a way to personalize the award or gift with their name on it. Sometimes personalizing a gift might require consulting family and friends to find a unique item you would never have thought of.

 Following these seven steps for giving recognition will insure you do things the right away every time you have a recognition opportunity to take care of.

Question: Which of these 7 “right ways” have had the most impact on a person you have recently recognized?

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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