Can you hear me now?
It's generally accepted that employee recognition is a good thing, although there is some debate about how much effect it has on the bottom line.
Never the less, we believe it's a good thing to do even if were unsure what it should look like.
There are pros and cons to the more formal programs and practices, of which there are many to choose from, although we can say with certainty that if any money is included as a part of recognition the dynamics change. I.e., you now have another comp program.
So how can you easily recognize your people without being too programmatic? Try these.
- Walk and talk. Steve Jobs was famous for his walking talks: turns out he was onto something. One-to-ones are nice, but they can be made more effective and relaxing just through the simple art of walking. Take a stroll around the block, mosey on down to the cafeteria, or just have a seat on a park bench after a quick stretch of the legs. Walking and talking is a simple way to tell someone you are really paying attention to them, and that's the best type of recognition.
- Birthday cards. You know your people have birthdays, and as their manager you know when they are. A one-time setup on your calendar will remind you of everyone's birthday in time for you to get a personal card and this is the key. Your card should be personal with a brief personal message. No, emails and e-cards (do they still make those?) do not count. No, having your admin buy them does not count. Go to the store, buy some cards, and write a personal message. You can do this.
- Buy lunch. With the big jobs comes big responsibilities. If you are above the level of a supervisor you should take your people out to lunch at least once a year. Assuming you have a team of eight – the average team size for a manager – you can take every one out to lunch once a year and still have four months to yourself. Why break bread? Similar to walking and talking it underlines and emphasizes the connection between two people. And that's what recognition is all about. Two keys: lunch (not dinner) and never any alcohol. Ever.
- Show off. Every now and then your people do extraordinary work. Hell, they might do that every day. The next time someone does something great, take them to see your boss and tell the story in front of them. That's right – show them off. Few things provide as much psychic boost to morale as our boss talking well about us to their boss. The important thing here is that this is done for outstanding work, not routine. And, for a group project, call a team meeting, invite your boss in, and boast about all of them. When your peeps do good work, tell others about it!
While you can also adapt lots of formal approaches to recognition the truly personal touch behind the ideas shared here can make a tremendous difference. Showing your team that you really value them and look for ways to emphasize that will have a positive return for everyone.
Maybe your boss will even begin to recognize you.