The U.S. Department of Labor reported that the number-one reason people leave their jobs is because they simply don’t feel appreciated.
It is important that employees in any organization feel that their work is important and valued. People who feel appreciated are more positive about their ability to contribute to the organization. This attitude is directly aligned with increased business productivity and reduced turnover.
While many supervisors realize that recognition is important, it’s easy to become caught up in the day-to-day tasks and lose sight of the people who perform them. It’s important to remind yourself that team members want a personal connection—and that the workplace relationship that matters to them most is the one they have with their direct supervisor.
Opportunities to Demonstrate Employee Appreciation
Watch and listen for opportunities to recognize team members for the unique strengths or knowledge they bring to the team. For example, if an individual shows natural leadership skill or is a reliable and consistent worker, acknowledge his or her abilities and dedication. Your employees will appreciate that you noticed what they bring to the team.
Additional opportunities to recognize employees include:
- Anniversary dates,
- Exceptional attendance
- Learning a new skill
- Assisting a co-worker
- Putting forth outstanding effort on a project
Individual or team accomplishments should also be noticed and acknowledged. For example, a team that works for a record-setting number of days without a safety injury should be recognized for their accomplishment.
It’s helpful to know and understand each employee’s personality when using recognition to motivate or encourage them.
Keep in mind that while some people may prefer public praise, others may be embarrassed by being placed in the spotlight and prefer to be recognized privately. If you pay attention to their unique personalities, you will be able to come up with creative ways to provide recognition to each of your employees in the ways that make sense for them.
Recognition from a Leader’s Perspective
There are numerous ways a leader can recognize an individual for his or her contributions. In many situations, a verbal “Thank you!” is enough. Public announcements, handwritten notes, and surprise celebrations (such as a team lunch) are all low-cost ways to yield higher results. Think about the employees’ desires and consider offering them unique opportunities for development or visibility. Providing great employees with advanced training or important or interesting projects are two ways you might show appreciation to your team members.
To be an effective tool for improving or maintaining performance, recognition must be given only when it is deserved and treated as something special. This will make the employee feel valued and reinforce the desired behavior. Specifically, emphasize what the person did well and how it had a positive impact on the team or organization. Additionally, it’s important to acknowledge the individual by name and to give the recognition in the moment or as soon as possible after the event. When you are sincere, timely, and fair with recognition, the whole organization benefits.
Keep your eyes open every day and watch for opportunities to recognize your employees. Praising others is one of the simplest, fastest, and most cost-effective ways to increase morale and performance.
At CMOE, our consultants are skilled at helping leaders understand the different types of individuals on their teams and learn how to create the conditions for self-motivation and better performance. We can equip you to lead more effectively by exploring employee motivators and giving you new techniques for recognizing your employees and their contributions.