Adapted from "Pathways and pitfalls to giving Personal Recognition and Appreciation"
No matter how dazzling your recognition program, in the end employee morale depends largely on how skilled you are at making the staff feel appreciated. Keep in might these recognition rules:
- Be Democratic. Don't restrict praise to bona fide successes. You should also appreciate effort - innovative ideas that fall flat or good tries that fall short. People should know it's ok to fail as long as they give their best. And be democratic in choosing whom to praise as well as what to praise. The receptionist, cleanup crew, and other support staff may not be moneymakers but they're an essential part of a well-run operation.
- Be Nit picky. Dramatic success's are great but they're usually the result of the tiny, incremental things workers do each day. Don't wait for the obvious. Take note of the small victories that lead to the big wins.
- Be Quick. Don't delay in praising employees fir a job well done. You not only want to make workers feel good about themselves, but you also want to reinforce their positive behavior. That's easier to do when the incident is fresh in an employee's mind.
- Be Public. Praise done right doesn't only reinforce the behavior and boost morale of the employee involved, it also raises the performance bar and creates a positive environment for everyone else.
- Be Specific. Make sure workers understand exactly what they did right. Rather than saying "Good job!" say "You handled that irate customer beautifully." By being specific you prompt workers to make note of their brilliance for future reference.
- Be Brief. Although you want to highlight positive behaviors, it's not necessary to turn a pat on the back into a dissertation on, say, customer service. Let workers enjoy their victory and save the blow-by-blow for your next staff meeting.
- Be Solicitous. Go beyond providing moral support by asking if there's anything you can do to help workers continue to perform to their full potential. Offering assistance is especially important when praising strong effort that proved unsuccessful.
- Be Reflective. After offering your on-the-spot praise, review the episode and ask yourself whether you could have handled the moment even better. Appreciation isn't as effective when, for instance, a manager praises workers then takes credit for their accomplishments with senior managers. To be most effective, praise should reflect the culture of the department or organization.