What I Recommend That You Get into the Habit of Doing

Individuals often ask me what I recommend for them to do to become a great recognition giver of the people around them—whether at work, home, or play.

The following is a short list of things I suggest you get into the habit of doing.

Take Great Notes 

Learn to make notes and jot down what people did whenever you receive amazing recognition, or when you witness someone else recognizing others exemplarily.

For example, I received various ecards when I celebrated my 15-year anniversary with my organization. Individuals astounded me by the different ways they communicated their thoughts and ideas in their written messages. I felt more recognized by some than I did by others. What they wrote was in some ways so typical of the individual, and other thoughts were a welcome surprise. This caused me to analyze what each person wrote in their ecard.

What I observed were the following insights in varying degrees: 

  • The level of personalization versus generic messaging.
  • Recognizing past and present contributions versus ignoring them.
  • Thanking the person on behalf of the organization.
  • Thanking a person for the things done by the recognition recipient towards the writer.
  • Ending, or not, with a warm and personal close. 

Note the wonderful recognition that goes on and see what you can learn from those examples.

Check Out Research 

Don’t worry, you don’t have to get all academic. I suggest you check out what academic researchers are up to and see if you can find some hidden gems to help you.

You can go online and visit Google Scholar. Enter “employee recognition + the calendar year” in the search bar and see what that generates for you.

Read the abstract to see if the study piques your interest. You can gloss over the theoretical and hypotheses, and even the methodology. Check out the results and the conclusion. Look for any recognition giving significance you can find from their research. What practical application can you gain from this study? 

This is how I learned about positive relationship strength between givers and receivers of recognition as being so vital. Going in depth on the differences between recognition and rewards was helpful. And in learning the impact of peer recognition on other peer’s performance levels. 

You can also create your own periodic pulse-check surveys and conduct basic research with focused questions specific to your organization and role needs. 

Know Recognition Expectations

It is essential that you identify each of your employee’s recognition preferences. Know what they like and dislike. What are their personal interests, hobbies, sports interests, favourite foods, candies/chocolate bars, and drinks? 

Become a keen observer of a colleague’s environment. Ask about items in view of their home office or perhaps in their office or cubicle area. Find out the purpose and meaning of things. Learn about their family and pets. In your one-on-ones ask about their goals, their health and well-being. 

Remember to connect more often with your employees. The more often you meet and talk, the more you will learn about what they and their peers are doing. This gives you lots of information on what to recognize them for. What is it they are most proud of? Is there a goal they have recently accomplished? What are they working on right now?

Now capitalize on these insights you’ve gained and integrate them into the type of recognition to give your staff for what they have done.

Practice Giving Recognition 

This might seem like the most obvious thing to be doing. And that is especially so if you want to make recognition giving a positive habit. But I want to recommend that you add this one major difference to your giving recognition. 

Without making it totally conspicuous, keep a journal or online record of how each act of recognition giving went. On your own 5 or 10-point scale, score yourself on how well you did with your goal of recognizing someone in a meaningful and effective way. Score how meaningful you felt it was. Then score how effective you thought your recognition was. Make notes of your observations when giving recognition. 

For example, 

  • Perhaps you want to practice using the Two-Part Specificity Rule™ more frequently.
  • Be more mindful with making eye contact with recipients.
  • Consider using a more positive and upbeat tone of voice in your recognition. 

Take special note of how impactful your recognition was from the recipient’s point of view. What were their non-verbal reactions to your praise? How did they verbally respond to your thanks or recognition? 

The same approach applies whether you are recording reactions to giving verbal, written, or tangible recognition. Become vigilant in recording your comfort level and proficiency in recognizing people. 

Write your subjective evaluation and record your somewhat subjective but quantified scores for your recognition practice rounds.

These would be a few habits I would recommend to you to make recognition real in your day-to-day life. 

Recognition Reflection: What habits have you made to ensure you give better and more frequent recognition to people?

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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