I’ve written about the importance recognizing employees in the workplace, The Power of Praise in Business. I’ve talked about the positive affect recognition has on employees, 4 Easy Ways to Improve Morale. And I’ve listed the top opportunities to recognize teammates, The Top Ten Times to Recognize Employees.
I’ve shared the numbers, “The number-one reason most Americans leave their jobs is that they don’t feel appreciated. In fact, 65% of people surveyed said they got no recognition for good work last year” (Gallup, Tom Rath and Donald Clifton, How Full Is Your Bucket? Positive Strategies for Work and Life)
What I haven’t done is explain how recognizing employees benefits the manager, team, and organization.
But What Does Recognizing Employees do for me?
Last week I was talking with one of my favorite managers. He shared his belief that you can’t expect most people to do their job without direction. He said, “If that was the case we wouldn’t need managers. However, there comes a point where I’m not going to recognize employees for just doing their job.”
I asked for an example, and he shared getting to work on time. For example, if an employee has been chronically tardy to the point of impending termination and then he or she begins coming to work on time. He asked, “Why would I recognize them for something they’re supposed to do? Isn’t that just being a responsible adult?”
Do it for You
One of the best ways to encourage repetition of positive behaviors is to recognize those behaviors. For example, what if the chronically tardy employee was in all other respects a good worker? Recognizing the positive change in behavior of getting to work on time increases the likelihood that the behavior will continue. As long as a manager looks at recognizing positive behavior as coddling employees and not as a tool to modify behavior, they’re missing the point.
Why Recognize What They Should be Doing Anyway?
Yes, recognition is appreciated by most employees, and the positive effects of recognition on employees are real and measurable, but the most important reason for recognition is to reinforce positive behavior, and that’s called leadership. Leaders use the tools they have available to improve individual performance, team production, and the organization’s bottom line. And recognition is one of the most valuable tools in the leaders tool belt. If recognizing the positive behavioral change of arriving to work on time helps the employee continue this behavior why wouldn’t a manager use this tool?
What’s in Your Tool belt?
Wouldn’t it better to use every tool in your leadership tool belt to improve your company? Use your recognition tool to encourage behaviors that will make your job easier and your business better. Whether it’s recognizing someone for being on time or completing a task without mistakes, do it for you, not the employee. You do want your team to repeat positive behaviors, don’t you? Believe me; it will make your life easier.