Acknowledge Employees

Every manager’s management strategy should include acknowledgement, here is how and why. 

Employee recognition has never been more needed than today. I am under the impression that people who want recognition the most lacked their parents’ affection. Today, many people from Generation Y look for recognition in their workplace because they didn't receive it during infancy and it has become a preoccupation for their bosses. Employees have a pressing need to know their work is good and appreciated. But what is the answer to this?

This is the main theme of The Carrot Principal, a bestseller testifying to the importance of the subject. In Quebec, the Chair of health management and work security at Université Laval posed the question to numerous workers. She also produced a box set, designed for organizations, that suggests 101 ideas on learning to express acknowledgement. Here is some advice to help you master the art of expression to your personnel. 

Work on your communication method and adopt a personalized style. Acknowledgement is knowing how to explain why you are satisfied and to illustrate your appreciation with examples. If you are too vague, your compliment will not have the same impact. Ask yourself what you should show your employee appreciation for. On the professional report he handed in—the depth of his analysis or the skill of his presentation? On his independence, judgment, sense of humour?

Show empathy. Can you listen to you employees and understand their feelings facing a difficult professional situation or personal event? Question the depth of the dialogue that you establish with others.

Show interest and curiosity. Knowing your workers is essential to acknowledge them. When are your employees’ birthdays? Are you finding out about their interests outside of work? Do you sometimes ask them about their private lives, kids, families, or simply their pets? You know your client’s interests, why not your team? Offering concert tickets to artistically inclined employees or reserving them business class air plane tickets can have a more beneficial effect than giving a year-end bonus highlighting their work performance. This gesture will be valued, show your appreciation and that you care about their happiness that is the key. 

Say the right words at the right time. You do not only have to mention good work during the evaluation interview. This is a daily task and the smallest and biggest successes should be equally emphasized. Finding the right tone is enough. Encouraging words in front of the coffee maker will be valued as much as a fancy restaurant invitation from the direct supervisor celebrating exceptional work. Everything depends on the success’ nature, and it is up to you to find the best way to show appreciation according to the individual (some would rather swap a fancy lunch with a day off).

Show some tough love. Acknowledgement must be positive as much as it is constructive. To put it plainly, if your comments are only positive than their meaning and value will be dampened. Raising negative points is also useful since they are a type of constructive criticism. Employees who celebrate nothing quickly miss challenges, claim more for outdoing themselves, or rest on their laurels.

Making comments requires dedicating time. See this act like an investment with a return measured in terms of performance, a positive work climate, and a lower turnover rate. Above all, do not forget that this act must be meaningful for both of you. If it costs you nothing, it would be worth nothing and lose its power.

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