If you want to get the best out of somebody, you first have to see the best in them.
A recent study commissioned by the O.C. Tanner Institute sought out the greatest driver of ‘great work’, defined as “work that is productive, innovative, and makes a difference that people care about”. Don’t you want to know what will get that kind of work out of your team?
In responses gathered from almost 1,000 survey respondents spread across all industries, respondents cited “recognition” as the most important factor three times more frequently than they cited any other factor. Great recognition and appreciation drives great work.
If you want to recognize and appreciate employees more effectively, here are a few things to consider:
System vs. Culture
Just like you can’t buy great macaroni and cheese in a box at the store, you can’t purchase great employee recognition off the shelf. It has to be a part of what your organization believes in order for anybody in the organization to believe it is sincere.
Monetary vs. Motivational
Amazingly, money is not the biggest driving factor of great work. Instead of investing money to show employee appreciation, try investing the time to provide simple things like hand written notes. Try something simple like giving every manager a package of simple Thank You cards to write thoughtful notes in and distribute to their team over the month. Maybe a box of Kudos bars to give to employees personally to recognize great work.
Personal vs. Organizational
People want to be recognized for something particular that they do. While it is easier to provide general appreciation to all employees, providing personal recognition to individual employees as they do great work is more effective at promoting positive behaviors.
Ultimately, effective employee recognition comes down to sincerity. Leaders must sincerely recognize and appreciate the greatness in the people who work for them. If they have that much, the rest is just a matter of expressing what they already feel.
Take a few minutes today to think about some great work or great qualities you have seen in people around you. Take out a pen and write a note telling somebody about that great thing that you appreciate about them, or walk up to somebody and tell them how they did a great job at something. You will feel better, and so will they! Then just repeat weekly and see what a difference you can make!