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5 Steps for Giving Employee Recognition that Motivates and Inspires

Employee recognition is essential in today's workplace - especially if employees have recently reported a desire for more or better recognition in a survey, or if you are experiencing high levels of turnover, poor performance, and employee burnout. How you deliver your recognition can make a difference in the impact it will have.

Here are 5 steps to follow:

  1. Be specific: Avoid dropping a generic, "Great job!" Instead, focus on what specifically the person did to earn the recognition and, when possible, how it advanced the individual or team towards a goal, and or demonstrated how to live a core value, and or advanced a company goal.
  2. Be transparent: If someone contributed to a team effort, make sure you specify exactly what they did in order to give them the credit they deserve. Also, include why you are recognizing an individual to show your sincerity.
  3. Recognize the effort, not the outcome: The goal of sending recognition is to encourage and reinforce positive behavior in your organization. By recognizing the work and thought that went into an accomplishment, you are not only providing meaningful recognition to the individual but also signaling to the broader organization what type of effort gets recognized.
  4. Make it meaningful: Recognize when it truly is warranted, using the two points above as a guide (specificity and transparency.) Recognition programs where everyone gets a turn, are ineffective and can lead to resentment and cynicism. 
  5. Organizational values and mission: Tying recognition back to organization’s goals can make an employee feel like their contributions matter to the organization’s success.

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