And as an employer, recognition is one of the ways that you can let your staff know that what they’re doing is meaningful.
“Recognition matters because we all want to know we’re making a difference in some way,” says SEEK’s resident psychologist Sabina Read. “Regardless of the job we do, most of us want to be noticed, respected and have a voice.”
Watch here as Read explains how recognition benefits the workplace and some simple ways you can show it:
Recognition benefits employees – and the workplace
What really matters in workplaces is managers who help their employees feel appreciated, research has found. “When staff feel that their work and efforts have been recognised, it’s more likely that their productivity will increase, their attitude will be more positive and those things impact very positively on the bottom line,” Read says. “At a very basic behavioural level, when we are recognised for desired behaviour, we generally repeat that behaviour.”
Recognising and rewarding staff for their efforts can help to create to an engaged workplace, which can result in:
staff who are committed, passionate and energised about their work
high levels of energy and determination towards challenging tasks
employees taking initiative
staff exceeding expectations.
When recognition goes missing
If staff aren’t recognised, they can feel unmotivated, depleted, negative and resentful. “These kinds of emotions are contagious,” Read says. “It can mean that you’re not only dealing with one unmotivated, unrecognised person, but perhaps a whole team.” And when staff aren’t feeling valued, it can lead to staff turnover or frequent requests for pay rises.
3 tips for showing your employees recognition
It’s problematic to think that any kind of recognition is good and at any time. Instead, positive feedback needs to be timely, specific and personal, otherwise it can lose its meaning.
Here are Read’s top tips for giving meaningful feedback to employees:
1. Seize the moment
If you want to recognise something an employee has done that’s been valuable, give them feedback immediately.
2. Know individual preferences
Do you have a staff member who wants to be acknowledged privately? Perhaps you have an employee who prefers their achievements identified and celebrated at a staff meeting. Your recognition and feedback should be meaningful and match individual employees’ personalities.
3. All staff can play a role
Managers are not the only people who can give recognition. Think about the values of your organisation and ask staff members to speak up when a colleague has exhibited these key values.
Forms of meaningful recognition
Incentives: “Make sure incentives are meaningful to the staff member,” Read says. “For example, a parking spot is pointless for someone who rides to work, but an afternoon off, a massage, movie ticket or dinner voucher all say, “I’ve thought of you and you are valued here”.
Personalised feedback: “Use hand-written letters, cards or even sticky notes rather than email,” Read suggests.
Being generous: “Offer time, money or resources for employees to do something that they would like to implement at work,” Read says.
Recognising employees isn’t difficult to do, but it does take a commitment to notice staff members who are making a difference. By singing the praises of your employees, you’ll let them know how much they are valued, and help to create a more positive and productive workplace.
Take a look at more advice from our Hiring Hot Topics series: