In today’s highly competitive work environment, companies are constantly looking for well-skilled talent and maintaining their most well-trained employees.
However, when companies and leaders do not put enough effort and attention to meet their teams’ needs, employees might feel unappreciated and undervalued. This might cause them to become unmotivated, perform poorly or even jump ship to another company.
Here are 3 main reasons why leaders should put more effort into employee recognition and make it an innate part of their company culture.
1. Happy Employees Are Productive Employees
The way leaders and organizations acknowledge their employees plays a huge part in employee motivation and retention. When leaders go out of their way to let their teams know that their hard work is being recognized by the management, employees are more motivated and engaged in the workplace.
As the company’s most valuable asset, employees should be provided with a positive work environment where positive reinforcement and constructive feedback are embraced. Making employee recognition as a part of the company culture can have a big impact on their productivity.
2. Cultivate A Culture Of Continuous Improvement
When employees feel that their hard work is recognized and valued by the management, they will not only become more productive but also more motivated to improve and deliver something better.
As a leader, it is important that you provide all the necessary opportunities and tools that will support your employees to improve themselves, as well as others. Another way to cultivate a culture of learning and improvement is by incentivizing those who take the time and effort to upgrade their skills and knowledge.
3. Improve Employee Retention
Finding and hiring well-skilled employees can be challenging. That’s why retaining high-performing employees should be a priority for every company.
The key to improving employee retention is by ensuring that they feel valued, seen, and supported by their peers and the management. It can provide them with the feeling of job mastery, job satisfaction, and a sense of belonging — that they are a great fit for their role and the company.
5 Love Languages In The Workplace
There are a number of ways to show appreciation and acknowledgment to the people you care about — one of the most popular ways is through the 5 love languages.
Gary Chapman, the author of “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate” which was published in 1992, outlined 5 general ways romantic partners express, experience, and prefer love.
However, the 5 love languages can actually be applied to anyone you value — and that includes your employees. By recognizing your employee’s professional love language, you can treat them the way they would like to be treated — making them feel seen and valued.
1. Words of Affirmation
Words of affirmation are usually related to providing compliments for our loved ones. In a professional setting, you can modify this into:
- Giving praise to your employees for their hard work and accomplishments
- Providing positive recognition and suggestions for the future through feedforward
- Providing mentorship or coaching
2. Acts of Service
Acts of service are when someone goes above and beyond to make their partner’s life easier. In the case of the workplace, this love language can be translated into:
- Providing tools, resources, and time to support your employees
- Regular check-ups to see how your employees are doing
- Lending someone a hand when they are overworked or struggling
- Establishing a proper system to support their work and wellbeing
The act of giving someone a gift is a wonderful way to show how much you care and appreciate them — this can also be applied in the workplace.
- A thoughtful gift on the company anniversary, their work anniversary, birthday, or on their first day joining the company
- Give them a celebratory day off
- Provide opportunities for employees to learn, voice their opinions, and explore their interests
- Offer mentorship, coaching, or advice
- A small token of appreciation to celebrate small wins or simply just because
- Ship an onboarding gift or employee kit for those who are working remotely
4. Quality Time
Establishing a strong bond with the people you care about is essential to building a trusting relationship — this can be done through spending quality time with them. Quality time with your employees has become even more important during this time of remote or hybrid work. Here are several ways you can spend quality time with your team:
- Doing one-on-ones with your team members and talk about challenges, how you can help them, and discuss personal lives
- Team meetings without work talk
- Take your team out to lunch or coffee
- Celebrate milestones with the team
- Encourage the team to take mental health days
- Team excursion and team bonding activities
When it comes to romantic, family, or friendly relationships, physical touch can be a tangible reminder of love. However, it is crucial to remember that when it comes to a professional setting, physical touch must be navigated carefully and respectfully. Here are several types of touch or alternative behavior you can try instead:
- A simple pat on the back to show appreciation
- Fistbumps or high-fives to celebrate a win
- Touching base with your team on how they are feeling
- Diving deeper into conversations about real-life outside of work
How can I be better at giving recognition?
Marshall Goldsmith had an enlightening discussion with Howard Morgan about recognition. Marshall asked Howard two questions:
- What are the goals of recognition? Why is it so important?
- How can people do a better job at providing recognition?
According to Howard, the goal of recognition, first and foremost, is to keep the right people. Because in reality, not everyone is suitable for the organization or the role. Another important goal is to show that you care for your employees.
They also discussed recognizing change. “The quickest way to acknowledge change is to follow-up on it. Say you’ve done what you’ve said you’re going to do. And that’s what people see as valuable. And you know what else, give them credit,” said Howard.
Both Marshall and Howard believe that it is important to show appreciation to the people who pointed out an area of improvement through feedback (or feedforward). Acknowledge that their feedback is valued, tell them what changes you made and its positive impact on the organization. Most importantly, thank them for helping you get better.
As opposed to taking the credit all to yourself, give credit to others for helping you — this is a great form of recognition.
Marshall and Howard also discussed 3 strategies to remember when providing recognition.
- Be unexpected: When you deliver a message to someone and it is something that they expect, there will be no excitement in it
- Be timely: If you take too long to recognize change, the person might already forget what they have done. Or when it comes to accomplishments, the spark will already be gone.
- Be sincere: Your employees can tell whether you’re sincere in your appreciation or not.
What kind of efforts have you taken to show recognition to your employees?
You can see Marshall’s and Howard’s full video here.