Set clear goals with your employees.
Work with your employees to set behavioral and performance-based expectations so you’ll have short-term performance targets to shoot for. Creating goals gives you an automatic gauge to evaluate performance by and to know what to recognize people for. Always tie your recognition to your Mission, Vision, and Values. This is a key way to drive a successful recognition strategy. Remember, that creating short-term goals, which helps focus people on achieving your Mission, Vision, and Values, can make it easier to catch the everyday behaviors which merit spontaneous recognition.
Find the right time and place for recognition.
Make sure to give everyday recognition at a time that does not interfere with or impede work. And strive to know the individual’s recognition preferences and respect their wishes. Don’t perpetrate a recognition ambush that is totally unwelcomed! Even instant recognition may need to be scheduled into the day – even if only for 10 or 15 minutes. That way all work colleagues and project participants can dedicate their focus on the individual or team. Give the full attention that these recognition moments deserve.
There’s a right way and wrong way for recognition.
You know and will discover, that some people love the limelight in front of others when they are recognized. But there are others who only want private, one-on-one recognition. Make sure to respect people’s preferences. By following people’s wishes, even private recognition presentations will have a wide-scale impact. The recognition recipient will value your consideration of their preference. And they will continue to emulate the positive behavior you’re acknowledging. No matter how people want to be recognized do it their way.
Give recognition to your teams the right way.
Express appreciation to all team members when a project has been completed successfully. Meaningful recognition comes in so many different packages and team recognition is as important as individual recognition. Make sure each teammate is recognized for their specific, individual contributions. Create a celebratory experience and the resulting team spirit will be contagious.
Teach others about the positive impact of recognition.
Be a “recognition revolutionary” and share examples of employees who have benefited and changed from being regularly acknowledged. You have already taken
the first step by setting the example yourself. Now you must recruit other fellow recognition champions. Help your teammates and colleagues make recognition a part of their everyday experience. Consistent, daily giving of recognition will make recognition an integral part of your organizational culture.
Practice recognition giving on daily basis.
Strive to give recognition every day to help you gain confidence in this skill. Research shows managers who recognize regularly have higher results from their employees than those managers who are not consistent recognizers. Don’t worry if you stumble through your first few spontaneous recognition expressions. The important thing is, you tried your best, and the next time will be even better. Like anything in life, perfect practice always makes perfect.
Be a positive emissary for recognition.
Talk up the positive power of reinforcing people’s actions and encourage others to recognize those you work with. The most powerful weapon against negativity towards employee recognition is speaking positively about it. It’s so much more fun to emulate a positive attitude by setting the right example.
Put more creativity into your recognition.
Instill a sense of creativity with the everyday recognition you give people by adding a personal touch such as a fun game or simply a hand-made card. Infuse more of yourself into the recognition delivery. Creativity will make the recognition you give more sincere and memorable for the recipient. They will always remember the extra effort you put in to make their recognition moment even more special.
Sometimes you have to plan recognition in.
Make time to get out and catch people doing things right and acknowledge them for what they are doing. Or simply follow through on email or verbal reports passed along to you of great performers and commend them right away. Create a network of recognition champions who become your recognition “field agents” helping you capture positive behaviours worthy of your immediate recognition.
Put a small time block in your calendar, each day where possible, and pause and think who should be thanked or recognized that you might have missed. Great acts sometimes require a little planning.
Make recognition as visible as possible.
Make your recognition successes a visible experience – always with the permission of the people involved. Share stories of the positive behaviours and actions employees demonstrate to help reinforce similar results from others. Use all of the available communication channels. Create cascading email blasts throughout the company. Put things front and centre in your newsletter and on your intranet or recognition program website. Use LCD screens, posters, tent cards and storyboards to get the messages out. Do all you can to spread the word. Recognition works!