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10 employees who deserve your recognition

“Next to physical survival, the greatest need of a human being is psychological survival, to be understood, to be affirmed, to be validated, to be appreciated.” – Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Employee recognition is more important now than it ever was and yet a recent poll found that 65 percent of employees do not receive any recognition for good work from their employers.1

With the vast majority of the workforce now working from home, many leaders are asking the important question “What can I do to inspire and motivate my employees?” One way to boost your employees’ engagement and morale – and subsequently, your organization’s long-term success – is to make a habit of recognizing your employees.

Regularly recognizing and rewarding your employees reinforces the behaviours aligned with your company values, builds momentum and enthusiasm, lowers employee turnover, and increases productivity.

You start a cycle of success, grounded in the science of behavioural economics. It works like this:

  • The employee you recognized experiences the dopamine effect, a rush felt after something good happens.
  • He or she feels valued and appreciated, which leads to enhanced subjective well-being, or perceived happiness.
  • Your employee repeats the desired behaviour in order to feel the beneficial effects of recognition and in turn, becomes more engaged and motivated.

Recognition tips:

Be specific.

Avoid general praise such as “Nice work” or “Good job.” Instead say something more specific, such as: “I appreciate how you stick with a problem until it is completely solved even when that requires extra work and taking risks.”

Recognize the simple as well as the grand.

It’s just as important to recognize a new employee for quickly learning a task as it is to recognize a long-term employee for being a great leader.

Be timely.

For maximum impact, recognize performance and behaviours as quickly as possible after the actions have taken place or the results determined.

While many leaders already understand the importance of recognition, the shift to a work-from-home environment has made it challenging to find creative or meaningful opportunities to recognize employees in the moment. Conversely, employees worldwide are having to navigate a “new normal” in order to get their jobs done.

Here are 10 employees who deserve your recognition during these challenging times:

  1. The day brighteners. A cheerful, always-positive attitude helps build morale and energizes your entire workforce.
  2. The recognizers. Those who regularly take time to praise others should be recognized for it.
  3. The accountables. There’s nothing like being able to rely on someone. Recognize those who always do what they say they’re going to do.
  4. The adaptables. Times and circumstances change (deadlines, budgets, the marketplace) and the greatest employees are those who take change in stride and remain positive.
  5. The goal-setters. Recognize those who set personal goals and work toward them – the ones who are never satisfied with the status quo.
  6. The idea generators. Fresh ideas are the lifeblood of your organization. Be sure to recognize employees who are always coming up with something new.
  7. The energetics. Energy and enthusiasm are contagious and can motivate your entire workforce.
  8. The resilient. When the going gets tough, the tough get going and the ability of these employees to stay strong and focused, no matter what, deserves recognition.
  9. The initiative-takers. If something needs to be done, this person does it without being asked.
  10. The learners. Recognize those on your team who are always seeking out new skills and new ways of doing things. When your employees grow, your organization does too.

Even in the best of times, employee recognition is an important tool in building and maintaining morale. As we continue to navigate these turbulent waters, it’s now more important than ever that employees continued to feel appreciated, valued, and connected. Creating a culture of recognition doesn’t need to be complicated; it just needs to be genuine.