3 Ways to Make Recognition Meaningful

recognitionI’m lucky to have a rock star boss. Why? Because she knows how to be an effective leader.

Take the photos to the left for example. In the note, she is thanking me for two projects I took on that hit around the same time and consumed quite a bit of my energy – including some late nights and two back-to-back trips away from my family. What made this form of recognition so meaningful to me? Three things:

1. Her message was SPECIFIC. Although only a brief 2 sentences long, she called out exactly what she was grateful for. No guessing on my end why I got this note or what behaviors I should continue to emulate in the future to be appreciated.

2. It was TIMELY. She dropped this note off just slightly more than two weeks after the projects concluded. Many managers might wait until an annual performance review to give praise, or even worse not provide any recognition at all. It’s important to recognize positive behaviors as they happen to provide ongoing motivation to your employees.

3. She PERSONALIZED both the delivery and the gift.  A hand-written note only takes a few minutes, and it’s much more meaningful than a verbal thank-you, email, or sometimes even public praise depending on the preferences of the receiver. She also personalized the gift by choosing a frozen yogurt joint she knows I frequent. Both of these gestures raise the “sincerity bar” significantly.

The next time you plan some type of recognition for your employees, make sure it’s Specific, Timely, and Personalized. The impact on their motivation will be much greater.  And remember, it doesn’t need to be complex or expensive. Sometimes just a pen and paper is all you need.

I’d love to hear what you do to recognize employees and/or meaningful recognition you have received. Please post below!

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