As humans, we all have emotions. We like to hear what we are good at. We love knowing that we are appreciated. It is important to know that our contributions are making a difference. Taking the time to recognize a job well done and to connect an employee’s performance with the organization’s goals, gives people a deeper sense of purpose for their work. When employees connect to the purpose of what they do, they have greater pride and ownership in their work, and therefore perform at a higher level.

A study by the Aberdeen Group showed that only 37% of organizations have a clearly defined employee engagement strategy in place. Of those strategies, only 15% extend throughout the entire organization. Without a way to engage employees, organizations run the risk of losing top talent and jeopardizing growth. In order to overcome this challenge, organizations must take a different approach to the way they interact with employees by creating a culture of recognition.

Try this Tip: Give both personal and public recognition. Some leaders ask employees how they want to be recognized. Honoring an individual’s desired recognition is wise. At other times, you may need to recognize differently, according to the needs of your organization.

What gets recognized gets repeated

Principle 9 of the Nine Principles for Organizational Excellence is to Recognize and Reward Success. When we acknowledge good work within the organization, we set expectations for performance. The recognition says “this is what right looks like” and it sets the standard for employees. Reward and recognition also engages employees in their work.

Higher performance comes from employees who feel genuinely appreciated. During performance and recognition conversations, leaders should get to know what people enjoy most about their work. This will allow you to incorporate more ways for them to capitalize on strengths and tasks they enjoy. This is a reward that cost the organization absolutely nothing. However, it goes a long way to show employees that they have value and are appreciated.

In Maximize Performance, authors Quint Studer and Janet Pilcher agree that when we recognize and reward behavior, we’re not just being nice. “We’re trying to ensure that the behavior gets repeated –– not just by the employee who performed the behavior, but also by those around that person who observe the reward and recognition. Recognizing people encourages others to do the right thing, and ultimately, it encourages the consistency we need in order to create a culture of excellence.”

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