Giving Recognition for Employee Achievement

As a leader in your organization, you're probably aware of how important recognizing achievement is when it comes to employee motivation and encouraging creative cooperation. So how can you create a specific strategy which will help you to recognize achievement on a consistent basis? How do you cultivate the skill of recognizing achievement in a language which each of your employees can relate with? This article will give you a simple approach for recognizing achievement and therefore cultivating trust within your organization and helping your team members to take more ownership of their duties.

Why Recognizing Achievement is So Important

Recognizing achievement is probably one of the most effective strategies for cultivating organizational trust and for inspiring your employees to do the best job possible. This is because everyone needs to feel a sense of purpose and validation from their work. No amount of financial compensation or benefits can make up for this. In fact, it has been proven that if a person is working in an environment where they are unappreciated, they'll become burnt out and eventually start seeking opportunities where they will receive the recognition that they deserve. For example, an experiment was done at a University where the subjects were hired to dig a ditch for an hourly wage.

At the end of the day, they were asked to fill the ditch back in and told that they would be invited back the next day to dig same ditch again in exchange for an hourly wage which was twice as much. Nearly half of them did not return, complaining that the task was meaningless and they couldn't believe they wasted their entire day doing something which had no purpose. The next day, the participants were asked to dig a ditch and fill it in again, and were gain told to return the next day and do the same thing in exchange for another pay raise. This time over half of them did not return...again complaining that there was no purpose in the job.

This experiment is an example of how people need to feel a sense of purpose in what we're doing just as much or more than they need to be compensated financially. Recognizing achievement is a perfect means of reminding people of the difference that they are making and meets their basic human need for contribution and significance. So what is the best way to start recognizing achievement within your organization?

Recognizing Achievement Begins With Understanding the Achiever

Do you sometimes feel like you are consistently recognizing achievement and yet it doesn't seem to have the effect that you hoped it would? Often times, this is because of the fact that recognition must be given in a language which the achiever can relate with. For instance, depending on employee's personality type, they may respond better to praise coming from their peers, while others would rather hear it from the leadership. An employee's personality type or not they would rather be recognized for their ability to achieve results, for their ingenuity or for their ability to build relationships with customers and with other employees.

Understanding an employee's personality type and communication style will help you to learn what type of praise or recognition they will best respond to. Leadership expert Steven Covey said that when we give recognition to a person it has to mean something to them. Most of the time, people make the mistake of giving recognition in a language which means something to them but not to the person doing the achieving. So how do you find out what type of approach for recognizing achievement is best? It begins with understanding the personality type of the achiever.

For example, are they more of a people person? If so, they are more likely to respond to praise from your peers and recognition for their ability to build relationships within the organization with customers. If they are more task oriented, they may be more receptive to praise for their ingenuity, their brains and their ability to achieve results. In addition to this, some people are more auditory and would prefer to hear spoken praise, while more visual communication styles or more likely to respond to seeing their name on a bulletin board or to receive some kind of visual recognition of achievement.

Developing a Plan for Recognizing Achievement

Recognizing achievement is something which requires you to be inconsistent communication with your employees so that you can understand what type of recognition is meaningful to them. One way to do this is with employee surveys which can tell you a lot about what type of recognition each person is looking for. If you're in an organization where time and resources permit one-on-one meetings with your team members, this is one of the best ways to develop an approach for recognizing achievement. Of course, you can also explore the possibility of delegating the responsibility of developing energy strategy to someone within your organization understands human behavior and has the creative focus to do a great job.


Debora J. McLaughlin, a certified Executive Coach, is CEO of The Renegade Leader Coaching and Consulting Group. She works with leaders, teams and organizations to navigate organiza...

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