(Time to read this important Blog article is about 2 minutes)

Employee engagement is one of the hottest topics in business today…and so it should be.  Extensive surveys by Gallup Research show that only 30% of U.S. employees are engaged at work, and a staggeringly low 13% worldwide are engaged

Gallup’s research also shows that 70% of employee engagement is related to their direct boss’s management style.  And ‘recognition’ by their boss is a big factor.  So, below are my ‘7 recognition tips’ that might be helpful…

  1.  A “Thank you.”  every day. You can’t more simple than this. We learned to say ‘thank you’ when we were kids…but so often forget it as bosses.  Research shows that one of the biggest reasons that people stop trying in any job (including the job of ‘spouse’) is that they believe they don’t make a difference.  But, if you got ‘thanked’ every day, how could you ever believe that you don’t make a difference.  People never get tired of hearing a sincere ‘Thank you’.
  2. Celebrations. Create a culture of celebration.  Look for any business or human reason to celebrate a new customer signed up, a commitment met, a birthday or engagement.  Whether it’s an award, a plaque, a party or just ordering pizza for the Team on Friday, celebrate!  
  3.  A special experience for an individual, or the Team. This is sort of a celebration on steroids. It could be concert tickets, a special activity or adventure.  One of our recent clients takes his management, supervisory and sales Team for a 3-day adventure after each annual Sales Meeting.  This year, the destination was a fabulous fishing lodge that these folks would typically never get to on their own.  Since the client is in the outdoor adventure gear industry, the lodge experience was a perfect fit.  The better the fit, the more powerful the acknowledgment.
    If a project at work keeps your employees away from their family for an extended period, tickets for a special night out for them and their spouse, or for the entire family, is a great way to get the family back on side with their spouse…and with you.
  4. A promotion or job title. Both of these recognize an employee’s effective contribution.  Just make sure that you don’t promote someone to a position for which they’re not suited or properly trained.   That’s a career ‘death sentence’…not a recognition.   This is a huge problem in many businesses. 
  5. A bonus or a raise. Clearly, a bonus or raise is a welcome recognition of effective performance or increased responsibility.  Bonuses should always be tied to specific commitments being met or exceeded.  For example, most ‘Christmas Bonuses’ are not performance bonuses and should be called what they really are…a Christmas gift.  To check out my controversial article titled, “Let’s Stop This Christmas Bonus Nonsense!” click here.
    Promotions should always come with a raise.  I recently chatted with a young gentleman who had been promoted to the role of Branch Manager responsible for a team of six in addition to doing all the work he had previously been doing.  After seven months of this he asked his boss about the possibility of a raise to recognize his added responsibility and workload, to which his boss replied, “Oh, I haven’t got time to talk about that right now.”  Bosses like this should burn in Hell…and probably will.
    So, who deserves a bonus or a raise in your business right now…and what are you going to do to make it right?
  6. Additional vacation time. For many folks, additional vacation time is a most appreciated form of recognition, especially if they’ve recently put in extra time and an extraordinary effort.  To actually pay for their vacation, not just give them the extra time off is an incredible way to recognize incredible performance.
    Who might be deserving of some extra vacation time in your business?    
  1. Recognition of an employee’s life realities through flexible hours or working conditions. This is a form of recognition that very few businesses think about…but they should.  Recognizing that each member of our team is an individual with a life of complexity and responsibilities beyond work creates a culture of two-way commitment.  Our commitment to them…and their commitment to us.
    Some years ago a friend with a large manufacturing operation in the UK created a ‘Moms Shift’ specially for women who had to drop their kids off at school in the morning and pick them up at 3:30.   These women started work at 9:00, finished at 3:00, took a shorter lunch break and produced as much or more than other shifts working from 8:00 AM till 4:30 PM.  They appreciated the job and the accommodation to their life realities.
    What might that look like in your business?  Research shows that for many folks, flexible work hours are as important as, or more important than, money.
  2. Share your own successes in recognizing effective performance and commitment. If you have an example of how you’ve creatively recognized performance and commitment in your business, we’d love to hear from you.  I’ll share the ideas that we receive.  That way we all get better. 

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