According to the Jackson ROI Study, managers who give consistent recognition are perceived as more effective managers. In addition, managers who give more recognition have employees who are more committed to and engaged in their jobs. The study also found that companies who do a better job of recognition have lower employee turnover and better overall business results.
Many experts say you don't motivate others; you can only create positive conditions so people motivate themselves. Your effort will be more successful though if you take into account three important conditions. Each condition must be fulfilled – and built upon – before you can move on to the next one.
First, all people want something . They may want more money, a promotion, satisfaction –anything. They must desire it strongly enough to be willing to do something about getting it. As a manager, you need to know what it is and turn it into a tangible goal. If people have no goals, no desires, you'll probably not get the motivation or performance you want from them. Unmotivated employees show little initiative or progress. However, everyone has some motivation. A successful manager will find the "hot button."
Second, they need to know what steps to take to succeed . It does no good to want something when there is no practical, visible way of ever achieving it. When a person has a goal and a plan for success, they get motivated into action. If they are given the tools and support to succeed, they will. An essential step to motivating anyone is to identify or create the path (bumps and all) that must be traveled. Then, a manager needs to help in establishing clear expectations and then removing the barriers that can get in the way.
Third, people must believe that their efforts will be meaningful and rewarded. Many people have goals, know what to do to achieve them, but lack the belief that their efforts will be appreciated or have value. Today employees have a lot of distrust of managers and companies. It's always more and more instead of a heart-felt thank you. Recognition becomes part of the payoff. Although recognition means different things to different people, it adds fuel to the flame of desire so the motivation continues in spite of the obstacles, which could include the routine of a job.
Two Strategies to Recognize Employees
Informal recognition is about the day-to-day interaction with your team. It's about your relationship. Is is positive or negative? One of the traits that employees hate about bad bosses is that they criticize most of the time. Be different and make an effort to be support and appreciative of your team's efforts. Here's an overview of informal recognition:
- Be as immediate as possible-today
- Be specific
- Low cost or no cost
- Manager initiates an action
- Focus on day-to-day behavior of employees
- For all employees
Bob Nelson's book, 1000 Ways to Recognize Employees, gives many creative example of how to do this. Here are few practical methods for any given day:
- Thank you for an extra effort
- Praise for a good job on a task
- Compliment for new idea
- Thank you note
- Thank you email
Research from Gallup says manager's need to give praise in some form to every employee on a weekly basis to maintain their positive attitude about work. Think about it, if an employee knows the job and is giving an honest effort, he or she most likely does many things in a week deserving a pat on the back, don't you agree?
Formal recognition is related to exceptional results or achievement. Give this to employees who excel at a goal or who consistently raise the bar. The definition is:
- Spans longer time frame-week, month or year
- Has specific criteria and results expected
- Costs money
- Most often given to top performers
Example of formal recognition are:
- Trophies or plagues
- Exotic trips
- Incentive award
- Gift cards
- Job Promotion
Recognition done sincerely, fairly and consistently motivates employees to be more effective. Isn't that what you want? Learn to be a motivator through honest and appropriate recognition. Keep working on your leadership skills. And, engage these two recognition strategies and you will become a better leader in the eyes of your team.