The No. 1 reason most Americans leave their jobs is because they do not feel appreciated. Many executives view employee recognition programs as investments rather than expenses, but businesses with limited funds may not be able to implement formal employee recognition programs. It is time we think about the way we recognize our employees.
There are a few ways you can kick off employee recognition for free, and it starts with a simple discussion. At the end of every week, our team at Red Branch Media sits around a large oak table, shares a few bottles of wine and cheese and discusses our wins for the week. This not only gives every employee the chance to shed light on a big task they tackled, but it also lets busy managers peek into what everyone is working on. It is a great exercise, but it does have its challenges when, for example, everyone gets quiet around the table. Here are 4 common obstacles and solutions on how both managers and employees can handle them.
If You Cannot Remember Your Achievements
Managers: Encourage your employees to record their completed tasks throughout the week. This way, they will have a list of their deliverables and be able to identify where their wins are, what is working for them and what may not be working for them. Ask them to send you this weekly list of their deliverables so you can provide recognition when it is due. When managers recognize employee performance, it increases employee engagement by almost 60 percent.
Employees: If you have nothing to say during your turn every week, then it is going to reflect poorly on your contributions to the team. You may have tackled multiple important tasks, but if you are not pitching in your wins to the rest of the team, then nobody is going to know what you accomplished. Be prepared for the exercise by writing down what your wins are so they do not slip your mind.
If You Do Not Have That Many Wins
Managers: If you notice every week that specific team members are not sharing their wins, find out why. Is this just part of their personality, or are they really not doing anything impactful enough to share? It may be that they lack the ability to recognize their own accomplishments, and if this is the case, it can be fixed with a little guidance.
Peer-to-peer recognition is 35 percent more likely to have a positive impact on financial results than manager-only recognition. So, if you have employees who are not stepping up and sharing impactful wins every week, it could be hurting your financial results too. Meet with the employee privately to learn more about why they have nothing to share when the attention comes their way.
Employees: If you do not consider anything you did this week to be a big win, that is a major problem. Look at your assigned tasks at the beginning of the week. If you notice your tasks are repetitive and you cannot fathom finding a win in the mix, then do something about it. Reach out to your managers and coworkers and set aside 30 minutes to take on something big. Or, look for how you did something faster and better than the week before. If your tasks are mundane, this should be a snap!
If it is Not in Your Personality to Share
Managers: If you can chalk it up to the employee being introverted, shy or humble, then it is time to have a talk with your team. On a small team, chances are people can distinguish the introverts and the extroverts. Reassure your team this is not a competition or a brag-off, and the purpose of this exercise is to improve employee morale.
Employees: If this is an issue of you being uncomfortable with speaking in front of others, it might be worth exploring how to get over it. You risk losing the respect of management and the consideration of your peers if you do not. If you still cannot bring yourself to say it audibly, use your company intranet or send an email. Do not miss the opportunity to be proud of your work.
If You Overshare
Managers: Sometimes, amazing employees have a lot to share, and they occasionally want to share the same wins when they work on a team. While there is nothing wrong with being excited, for those who are shy, learning or having a rough week, it may not be great nor scalable. Work with the more extroverted and senior employees to allow the younger and shyer employees to get a word in for their triumphs as well. Try to keep every “win” to the biggest and most important for the week, so you do not have laundry-list sharers next to those who turn bright red when called upon.
Employees: This weekly exercise is meant to highlight wins and motivate the rest of the team to push for excellence. This exercise is not supposed to determine who did the most this week or whose win was more important than the others. Make every week a personal win, and if you are missing the mark, then do something about it. Your workload or mundane assignments do not excuse you from not having big wins.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
Image Credit: CC by Matthew_Hurst