Giving Thanks and Recognition
Posted by Cathleen Urdi on Fri, Nov 13, 2020 @ 11:00 AM

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted many recognition program initiatives. In past years, managers or employees could easily walk up to a peer and give them thanks or recognition for a job well done. Now, for the time being, the opportunity for most in-person recognition doesn't exist. Many managers and employees are now needing to adapt to giving recognition virtually.

Also, employee emotional well-being has been impacted. Not only do they worry about job security and remote challenges, but they are also trying to balance job and personal obligations. Therefore, giving thanks and recognition is more important now than ever before.

"Silent gratitude isn't very much use to anyone." This quote by author Gertrude Stein serves as a humble reminder of this month's theme, giving thanks. While giving thanks may be a lot to ask for in 2020, it is still the time of year to be grateful for what you have and to share that appreciation with others. 

Much can be unpacked from the quote above as it relates to one's personal endeavors. It also has practical applications to the professional sphere, especially with regard to employee recognition.

Thankfulness is at the core of recognition. Recognition itself is the action, but without the authentic appreciate for the individual and their accomplishment, the recognition moment is an empty vessel.

Here are six effortless ways that managers can give THANKS today and every day, without being taken away from business objectives. These tips don't just apply to managers; they can be utilized in a peer-to-peer relationship as well.

Take time to celebrate small victories. Not every milestone requires a standing ovation, but certain accomplishments mean more to an employee than one might think. Did they nail that pesky little Excel v-lookup on the first try or figure out an effective solution to a tedious exercise? For some, that could mean more than meeting a monthly quota. It's important to know your audience and that a little kudos goes a long way.

Huddle around your team for support. Scheduling regular check-ins, whether it's meeting through an online platform, over the phone or in some cases in-person (and socially distant!), is paramount in creating a positive work environment. These meeting encourage open communication and collaboration as well as an excellent opportunity for shout-outs to those who have made your day, week or month. You can also integrate games such as team building or stretching exercises to boost morale and creativity during some of these meetings.

Acknowledge and adapt to diverse individual preferences. Just as a cable company allows customers to pick and choose channels and service options, they deem valuable, so too must managers identify and carry out the recognition moment to the employee's preferences. Not everyone thrives on public attention, so take the time to find out how each of your team members prefer to be recognized.

Notice when someone needs encouragement. Encouraging may be a bit more difficult to determine through emails or messages. Do you usually talk to this person frequently, and now there is not much interaction? Yes, they could be busy, but this is an excellent opportunity to step in. Part of the beauty of being human is that we're not on our 'A' game every day, and the truth is that would be boring if we were. Especially now, given the current climate, this has become more apparent. There are simple ways to let someone know that they've been seen, and their efforts are valued, such as an eCard or a quick email that says, "you've got this!"

Keep sharing. Did your team meet and exceed its quarterly goals or develop an innovative approach to a new project? Brag about them a little bit to your own supervisor. Not only does this highlight their accomplishments, but it also reflects positively on your leadership skills (win-win!).

Simplicity is key. Expressing gratitude does not have to be an extravagant or time-consuming ordeal. At its core are situational awareness, empathy, and the tried-and-true Golden Rule: treat others as you would want to be treated. Please take a moment to glance through the figurative lens of your coworker, and you're bound to appreciate how they contribute to your organization's success.

And that's it, six easy to implement strategies for creating recognition moments by incorporating the act of gratitude.

Did you know that 64% of employees say recognition is more important while working from home? Since team members are almost completely separated during this time, it's always a good idea to reach out to recognize someone. Also, did you know that recognition is linked to employee engagement and that companies with highly engaged employees have 21% higher profits? Recognized employees' equal happier employees. With relation to happier employees, organizations also see that 70% of customers will spend more money on a company that provides excellent customer service. Gratitude can increase your organization's bottom line. That's something to be thankful for.

Author's Note: This article is an updated version of our 2018 article, Six Ways to Give THANKS at Work.


Topics: employee recognition

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