“A company is stronger if it is bound by love rather than by fear.” — Herb Kelleher
Have you ever worked at a company where managers gave little to no praise or recognition to their employees? No? Well, consider yourself lucky! More often than not, employees aren’t recognized enough for their accomplishments, and neglecting to do so can cost you. In fact, “disengaged employees cost the U.S. more than $300 billion in expenses”, due to attrition and then recruiting of replacement employees.
Motivated employees are an asset. Recognizing them for their efforts is important if you want to have a productive and engaged team in order to move your business forward.
A few thought-provoking statistics:
- 78 percent of US workers said being recognized motivates them in their job
- 35 percent of workers claimed lack of recognition as the biggest hindrance to their productivity
- 16 percent of employees left their previous job due to a lack of recognition
Clearly, recognition, or lack thereof, is prompting a fair share of employees to feel disengaged, less productive and in many instances, leaving their jobs.
In order to keep employees motivated and working hard, most need to feel that their efforts are valued. When acknowledged for making progress on a project or completing important tasks, it feels good and it encourages employees to stay productive. The importance of praise goes a long way!
In one of our recent posts we’ve mentioned that a small “you’re doing a great job” is important, and it is, but you should give specific praise as much as possible.
Building a culture of praise can take time, but if it is done correctly, the results can be beneficial. It is important to not mix constructive feedback with praise. On her The Brain Lady blog, psychologist Susan Weinschenk explains, “that the best feedback separates objective feedback from praise.” This helps the individual differentiate between what they can improve on and what was acknowledged as good work. Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson suggests praising the process and not the person. “Talk about his creative approach, his careful planning, his persistence and effort, his collaborative attitude…That way, when he runs into trouble later on, he’ll remember the process that helped him to succeed in the past, and put that knowledge to good use.”
Here are some quick ways you can praise your employees on the go:
- A “thank you” in front of a customer or co-workers
- Look for the small, thankless details and point them out to the person who took the time to complete them
All of this also goes for peer-to-peer praise and recognition, too. It doesn’t matter what level you’re working at. If you see someone performing well, let them know!
Employee recognition is highly sought by employees and does not require a lot of resources and the positive feelings will result in better relationships with customers and clients. A win-win for all involved.
To wrap up, here are some key points to keep in mind when praising your employees:
- People’s response to recognition will vary, but remember to praise the process
- Achievement is defined differently for everyone, but recognizing even small ones goes a long way
- Only praise behaviors that you want to see continued
- Be sincere. Employees and colleagues will know if you’re faking it
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Staying engaged at work is a struggle for many. According to Gallup’s recent “State of the American Workplace” survey, “latest findings indicate that 70% of American workers are ‘not engaged’ or ‘actively disengaged’ and are emotionally disconnected from their workplaces and less likely to be productive.” (Source). That means happiness and productivity levels are low – and who wants to be surrounded with a bunch of unhappy and negative co-workers?
The good news is, you can start to turn it around today by focusing on your own engagement at work!
Here are 5 ways to keep your engagement levels up:
1. Celebrate Your Wins: Big and small wins should be celebrated often. Research shows that small wins are even more essential because they help keep you on track, and feel confident when progressing towards your goals.
Look at it this way. A common suggestion when paying off credit cards is to pay off the card with the smallest balance first. That way you can see your progress, celebrate that small win and feel capable of paying off the rest. Small wins are important too!
Douglas Conant used a similar tactic when working to increase engagement levels while CEO of Campbell Soup Co. He stated in an interview with Forbes, “The other thing we do is celebrate at a high level when people do things well. Learning to celebrate success is a key component of learning how to win in the market.”
2. Make Your Impact Visible: By tracking and getting recognition for your wins on a regular basis you will start to feel a sense of accomplishment and want to continue to have a positive impact. It will also help you build on your strengths.
One of the key findings in BlessingWhite’s 2011 Employee Engagement Report was that “engaged employees plan to stay for what they give; the disengaged stay for what they get.”
Log your daily wins and, periodically, share these with members of your team. Encourage them to do the same! You will feel more engaged and ultimately, happier!
3. Remember What Matters: Simply stated, you are more likely to stay engaged if you share common values with your employer. If you find yourself feeling disconnected, reintroduce yourself to the company’s values and make sure you’re working towards the same goals.
This sentiment is confirmed in Employee Engagement Research Update 2013, “If employees understand what matters to them, what they offer, and where they can make a difference for their employer, they will be better able to make the right choices.” Feeling connected and finding purpose and satisfaction in your work helps you stay more fully engaged.
4. Ask for Feedback: Sometimes you may start to feel disengaged because you don’t feel like what you’re doing is making a difference. That is why feedback from your peers and managers is important. Ask someone how you’re doing, what’s working or where you could improve. Use that as fuel and inspiration to keep moving forward.
Another point to remember is that individuals should communicate with their manager to ensure alignment and address their personal engagement drivers to reach higher levels of contribution and satisfaction (Employee Engagement Update 2013).
5. Take a Break: It’s easy to get caught up in your daily tasks at work, but it’s important to step away and give your mind a breather. Get up and walk around for a few minutes every hour or so. Freeing your mind can work wonders, and can help you focus on how to take daily actions that will help give you a deeper sense of purpose and engagement at work.
Tell us! How do you stay engaged at work?
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The most important thing you can do to achieve more at work is to know what you are accomplishing and sharing your progress. Get more done and get the recognition you deserve!
In my previous management role at a global enterprise software company, Craig was a top performer in my team. He always made sure I was updated on the progress he was making at work and regularly sought feedback from me and his peers on how he was doing. No surprise then that Craig received plenty of recognition and had consistent impact and success at work. He made my job easier as his manager and he made the team stronger.
Now there were others who did good work, like Andrew in our Toronto office and Sarah in Newtown Square, but they didn’t seem to get the same kind of recognition. Despite periodic 1:1 conversations, I remember sitting down with them for their year-end performance reviews and feeling frustrated. There was always insufficient data about the full range of their accomplishments over the course of the year and little specific feedback from other team members. Those discussions left everyone unsatisfied with the process.
The reality is that most managers have a hazy understanding of what people are accomplishing regularly and team members are unsure of how to communicate their progress and get recognition for their work. Experience has shown that self-directed employees who take initiative about communicating progress and proactively seek feedback from colleagues and managers, get recognized and have more impact at work than those who don’t. Their transparency also makes teams more productive, performance-driven and effective.
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Our mission at TalentCove is to make it quick and easy for people at work to be more productive and get the recognition and feedback they deserve.
Capture what you’re accomplishing, share your progress with your team when you want, and get recognition with day-to-day and informal feedback. It’s that simple. Plus, all your information is always in one place and accessible: anytime, anywhere.
A Growing Movement
Thought leaders and companies we admire are embracing this approach. Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg called Netflix’s famous ‘Freedom and Responsibility’ Culture Deck (6,966,376 views and counting), “the most important document ever to come out of the Valley”. The emphasis is on increasing employee freedom and responsibility rather than more process, encouraging people to achieve sustained excellence, while valuing their colleagues’ skills and behaviors. This is the future of the workplace, and more and more companies – big and small – are adopting it.
With more distributed teams, a higher proportion of contract workers and an ever greater share of millennials (those born after 1980, and will constitute 36% of the US workforce this year), a work culture of self-directed progress and continuous feedback will be the norm. To attract, engage, retain and motivate the best people, teams and companies will need to adapt.
This is the future of work – and it’s in your hands.
–Fawad Zakariya, Co-founder & CEO
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