There are so many things I love about my colleague, Jill.
But one of them is the fact that she gets me. For instance, Jill knows that I like it when my work is recognized. If I’m working hard, I like it when someone else notices it. And without fail, Jill notices. Always. She notices when I go the extra mile. She notices when I work through something challenging. And she recognizes me for a job well done (and I know it’s sincere because she also gives me critical, tough, valuable feedback when I didn’t do so well).
The impact of this is that I love working with her, and I look forward to our conversations. Her recognition motivates me to want to keep doing good and working hard. And I’m not alone.
I Know I’m Not the Only One
You know how I know I’m not alone? I hear all the time from clients that they want recognition for the work they are doing. Without it, they feel like a cog in the wheel instead of a valued member of the team. When effort goes unnoticed, where’s the motivation to excel?
Recognition can be difficult in the best of circumstances, but it can be especially tough when people are no longer in the same space. There aren’t those casual opportunities to say “Hey, nice job on that presentation this morning!” when you bump into them while filling your coffee cup.
Let’s Check-In with the Experts
I’ve seen a lot of articles recently on the topic of recognition in remote environments. Here are some of my favorites (and a quote from each that I found interesting).
The Remote Workplace Needs Recognition Rituals Too. Employee engagement requires consistent, frequent action from managers and leaders. Annual or quarterly awards and accolades are not enough to improve worker performance.
Rewards and Recognition in Virtual Teams. The key to unlock the full potential of virtual team’s performance management system lies in both modified performance objectives and distinct rewards & recognition programs. Virtual team members need constant reinforcement that they are an important asset of the organization and their contributions go a long way in determining the organizational success.
Don’t Let Employee Recognition Become a COVID Casualty. An OGO survey found that, for the typical employee, it’s been at least 50 days since their manager last recognized their efforts at work. “Recognition is all about timing; it shouldn’t be ‘ticked off’ quarterly or annually – it must be done on the day,” Hattingh told HRD.
3 Tips to Up Your Recognition Game
There are a lot of tips in these articles but let me add a few more of my own:
- Be curious. Ask your colleagues what you do that makes them feel valued and appreciated, and what you can do more of. (If you’re willing to be even more vulnerable, ask if there’s anything you do that makes them feel like you are not recognizing their work.) Listen to what they have to say without getting defensive, and make adjustments as necessary.
- Collaborate. Have a brainstorming session about how the team can recognize each other. Use a virtual whiteboard (Jamboard is my favorite, and it’s free!) to generate ideas, and then decide as a team what you are going to do. Check-in at the next team meeting on how it’s going.
- Get specific. Want to recognize someone for good work? Be clear and specific. It’s one thing to recognize accomplishing a goal, but it’s also important to highlight what they did to get there. Maybe it’s how much time they put into a project or how hard they worked to find a creative solution to a tough problem. Noticing the effort – not just the outcome – can be invaluable.
Recognition leads to better work. It’s that simple. So, if you are one of those people who think the paycheck is enough recognition, think again. It’s not enough.
If you want to do anything better it takes training and practice. We know that’s true to be physically fit and Thoughtfully Fit!
So I challenge you to take one minute and recognize one person today. Seriously. Pick someone right now. Pick up the phone, send an email, or do something to recognize their work. Let us know how it goes!
P.S. Have you always wanted to learn how to use coaching skills in the workplace? Here’s your chance to participate from the comfort of your own home or office! Jill Mueller will be teaching “Coaching Your Way to Engaged Employees” at UW-Eau Claire completely online on October 20 & 21. Register here.
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