What to recognize when you’re recognizing: Top 5 misrecognitions

It’s not that you don’t know who to recognize.  It’s not that you don’t want to recognize them.  It’s that you don’t know how to recognize your colleague for a job well done.  Understand how to effectively recognize your peers by avoiding these five common misrecognitions:

  1.  “Good job, Ben.”

Why it doesn’t work: Did Ben win an award?  Did Ben close a sale?  Did Ben get promoted?  Leaving your coworker confused isn’t the only repercussion of this vague recognition.  Be specific in your recognitions to drive repeat positive behaviors that get your business results.

Make it work: “Good job on your presentation at the meeting today, Ben.  It was articulate, concise, and provided great insight to our Board members.”

  1. “Thank you for submitting your proposal last month.”

Why it doesn’t work: Last month?  Last month!  Sure, you can’t be expected to read every proposal the instant it’s submitted, but timely feedback is crucial to employee engagement.  Try and align your feedback with the present moment to make employees’ contributions feel valued in real-time.

Make it work: “Thank you for submitting your proposal last month.  I finished reading through the entire document today, and I am excited to speak with you further about this idea.”

  1. “Thanks for your help.”

Why it doesn’t work: Ok, wait a second.  Do you think in a few weeks from now your employee will have any recollection of what this thanks was for?  An effective recognition is a meaningful recognition.  Provide the employee with details about how their actions met or exceeded expectations.

Make it work: “Thanks for your help today, Megan.  Not only did we hit our deadline, but your positive attitude also made the workload manageable.”

  1. “The meeting today was good, thank you for hosting.”

Why it doesn’t work: Yes, this recognition is specific, timely, and meaningful, but the impact can be maximized by aligning it to your company’s core values.  By referencing your values in recognition, employees feel like they are working towards something greater than themselves.

Make it work: “Good leadership skills were displayed today, Mike.  I respect how you brought the team together in a meeting to create better alignment.”

  1. “Jen, Katie, Mark, Dave, Michelle, Vanessa, Andrew, Sarah, Matt, Alex, Heather: excellent job hitting your sales targets.”

Why it doesn’t work: Recognizing too many people for one thing discounts individual accomplishments.  Perhaps many people were involved in one achievement; in this case, if you give out one recognition, ensure that you specify everyone’s personal contributions.

Make it work: “Jen, Katie, Mark, Dave, Michelle, Vanessa, Andrew, Sarah, Matt, Alex, Heather: excellent job hitting your sales targets.  Everyone reached an outstanding personal achievement and I look forward to discussing this with each of you further in our 1-on-1s.”

1 reply
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