Gone are the days when length-of-service awards, employee-of-the-month recognition, and merchandise rewards were valued ways to recognize people who work with you. In fact, many people find such formal recognition programs stale and irrelevant, and their effectiveness has declined. This is true whether speaking of colleagues, direct reports, or subcontractors.
The problem is that these methods don’t really express appreciation for a job well done or gratitude for a commitment to quality.
Take the Self-Quiz below to discover how well you score:
1. Forget employee of the month! I try to acknowledge employees each time they do good work.
2. I make proactive changes and improvements to my recognition programs. I don’t wait until the evidence of ineffectiveness is overwhelming.
3. One way I express how much value to those I work with is by ensuring meaningful work, offering flexible work hours and encouraging greater work/personal life balance.
4. I am clear about what kinds of incentive merchandise not to give, including coffee mugs, paperweights, pen sets, plaques. In fact, I stay away from “stuff” altogether.
5. I understand that how people are treated each day matters more to them than gift certificates or parking spots. This includes soliciting opinions and ideas, involvement in decisions, and allowing for failure.
6. Also, I offer learning and development opportunities as appreciations, rather than “things.”
7. We are moving toward more personalized forms of recognition and away from structured recognition programs. It is more sincere and more personal.
8. I ask those I work with what kind of programs, practices, items and activities they value, so that to know the direction I need to take.
9. I make recognition or praise a habit and a routine part of my day. Thank-you notes, one-on-one meetings, voicemail, and being observant are a few simple recognition tools.
10. Somehow, I think I don’t do enough to thank those I work with.
11. Creativity and fun are big components of my or my company’s recognition activities.
12. I include “praise employees” in my “to do” list each day, to help me develop the habit.
13. I start every staff meeting—every meeting altogether!—with praise or kudos sessions.
14. I don’t overlook my own contributions. I recognize and reward myself, and acknowledge my successes.
15. I ask my employees or associates to contribute ideas and/or to participate in celebrating each others’ work.
It’s the simple forms of sincere thanks and praise that go the longest way toward making those who work with you feel valued, respected, trusted, and prized.