What It Takes To Teach People How To Give Wonderful Recognition

Too many people are not getting the recognition they deserve.

And the reason they are not receiving recognition where you work is because the people they report to, and those they work with don’t know how to express recognition to them.

This very fact motivated me to leave the healthcare field and begin a career in teaching people how to give meaningful and effective praise and recognition to those they work with.

Here’s what I have learned on what it takes to teach others to be real recognition givers.

Awareness Is Half Of The Key

Getting a group of managers or employees in a room for an education session on how to give recognition is both exhilarating and scary—at least for the participants.

The first step I take people on is building awareness of the need and importance of employee recognition.

The irony is that when you ask participants what happens when people are or are not recognized, they all know how to respond. It is easy for them to list the physical, mental, and emotional reactions that people experience for being recognized or a lack of recognition.

It is also important to identify what holds people back from acknowledging those around them doing good work. People list all kinds of barriers, fears, and myths that stop them from recognizing others. 

Teaching them how to give wonderful recognition can eliminate most of these factors that hold people back from giving recognition.

What Makes Recognition Wonderful

Great recognition experiences include a lot of emotional and relational elements.

  • Meaningful and effective recognition is a felt experience and is always positive and genuine.
  • Real recognition is perceived as authentic when given by people the recipient likes, knows, and trusts.
  • Expressions of recognition are very specific in noting exactly what the person did rather than using vague generic statements like “good job”.
  • Being specific about the positive behaviors and actions done communicates that the giver of recognition is observant and cares.
  • Telling people with their expressions or recognition how the individual made a difference or impact through their positive actions.
  • Noting the meaningful contribution of the person’s actions has consistently shown people the authenticity of the recognition expression.
  • They keep recognition moments separate from any corrective feedback.
  • They never sandwich negative comments or feedback in between two positive statements. 

Recognition that is felt as positive and appreciated by recipients only comes when givers consistently and genuinely show care and concern for all employees. Authentic recognition happens when recognition giving is a way of life for each giver and not just a programmed or scheduled activity.

The Final X-Factor for Teaching Recognition

Knowing what wonderful recognition must contain, how do you people gain the skills for giving recognition to people the right way every day?

Show them. 

That’s right. You have to show them how to give wonderful, effective, and meaningful recognition.

Show them how to make their expressions of recognition clear, specific, and impactful. Then turn the tables around and have them practice expressing recognition to those participants in the learning session. Use real-world scenarios from their workplace that participants can use to simulate the recognition in that situation.

Create video recordings of consenting employees giving effective recognition to others so participants can learn from these examples. Video record employees who have received recognition and ask them what effective recognition looked like to them from their own experience.

Just telling people to give more recognition doesn’t make it happen. Giving them written information alone on how to give recognition will only help a few people to make it happen.

But showing employees and managers how to say and give recognition, and then letting them do recognition the right way, is what they really need.

When you show participants how to give recognition you influence their personal feelings and this changes people’s behaviors.

Recognition Reflection: Does your current teaching and training of recognition skills provide sufficient examples of showing people how to give it well?

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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