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What is recognition?

In a job, people often think about the monetary recompense, but job satisfaction goes far beyond a simple salary. In order to feel fully satisfied at work, many other factors need to be taken into account, such as company culture, job expectations, and career progression. And importantly – recognition!

In a recent survey, 82% of responders said they considered recognition an important part of their job, as it affected other areas of their lives as well. Indeed, if you are content in your job, feel valued and as though your work is being recognised, that happiness is more likely to spill over into your personal life too.

Recognition is the art of giving positive feedback to an employee based on their performance. It differs from simple appreciation because it is conditional, based on an action or a result from the past and often comes from a person in a higher position. Appreciation, on the other hand, is based on who the person is, not what they do. It aims at acknowledging a person’s value as an employee independent from what they are producing.

Both recognition and appreciation are important in a workplace scenario. They complement each other and make employees feel valued both for their work and for who they are as a person.

How to start recognising more

Employee recognition techniques may be far easier than you think, as a simple ‘thank you’ is sometimes all someone needs to feel as though their work is being recognised. However, employers who have a lot on their plate or aren’t naturally empathetic may need more structured ways to highlight employee accomplishments. Here are some tips on how to recognise employee achievements.

  • The small gestures count
    Small gestures can go a long way: a verbal ‘thank you’ after a task has been completed or a ‘well done’ after an employee has exceeded expectations can make a person’s day. These gestures don’t need to be only verbal either; a handwritten note left on an employee’s desk is just as easy to do and just as effective.
  • Think out the box
    If informal gestures aren’t your style, then formal gestures are just as good. An ‘employee of the month’ prize could be an idea, or weekly ‘thank you’ meeting to single out meritorious employees and go over what has been achieved in the company. These meetings could be done at any frequency and could include varying numbers of people, from a small team to a company-wide meeting depending on what or who is being recognised.
  • Be specific
    When recognising someone’s achievements, you need to be specific – both in who you are recognising and what you are recognising. Call someone out by name and explain clearly what it is they have done that has warranted this recognition. By doing this, not only does the employee feel valued, but the employer is also highlighting the types of behaviour that will receive recognition. This could serve as an example for other employees and give them the drive and direction to also strive for similar achievements.
  • Timing is key
    Similarly, make sure your recognition is timely. If you wait too long before rewarding an employee, then it might not seem as genuine. When someone achieves great results or excels performance-wise, congratulate them, don’t wait!
  • Set reminders
    If you are a busy employer, setting a reminder on your phone could be a good solution. This way you will remember to fulfil simple gestures of recognition, which will leave your employees happier, without worrying about forgetting. After a while, these gestures will become habit, and you will no longer need the reminders.
  • Keep it up on an ongoing basis 
    In line with making these gestures a habit, an employer must also ensure that they happen year-round. Employees need appreciation and recognition constantly. While this may sound like a lot of work, remember that recognising your staff’s accomplishments can go a long way.
  • Consider an achievement wall
    Other ideas towards implementing company-wide recognition schemes include ‘achievement walls’ where a white board is used to write down and highlight achievements. If it is placed in a communal area, it will motivate employees to try and get their work recognised as well. In a similar vein, starting positive gossip on employee achievements will direct conversations towards productive and creative tracks.

When you value your employees and make an effort to recognise their achievements, you may see some, if not all, of these benefits:

  • Higher job satisfaction
    Your employees will feel more personally attached to the company, making them enjoy their job and leading them to feel fulfilled in their work-life.
  • Lower staff turnover
    If your employees are satisfied with their company, they will be less likely to leave, saving the company in time and resources.
  • Higher productivity
    Employees who enjoy their job, like their company, and have clear goals in sight will be more productive. They feel incentivised to work harder and do so willingly, which should lead into a cycle of being productive, gaining recognition, and feeling spurred on to be more productive.
  • More positive work environment
    A company where employers trust their employees and vice versa makes for a positive work environment. This means everyone can get on with their own work and trust that others will do the same; employees and employers can then periodically come together to celebrate achievements, which enhances the company culture.

A little goes a long way when it comes to recognising your staff’s achievements. In turn, when employers and managers take the time to highlight employee accomplishments, they can expect a plethora of benefits. Not only will morale be higher, but so will productivity. The key to a successful company is making sure your employees know their work is being valued and actively recognised.

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