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The many faces of recognition

 7 January 2022     Donald Cooper 

Employee recruitment, engagement and retention are the hottest topics in business today and so they should be. Extensive surveys by Gallup Research show only 30% of employees in the United States are engaged at work, and a staggeringly low 13% worldwide are engaged.

Gallup’s research also shows 70% of employee engagement is related to their direct boss’s management style. And recognition by their boss is a big factor. So, below are my ‘six recognition tips’ that might be helpful:

A ‘thank you’ every day. You can’t get any more simple than this. We learned to say ‘thank you’ when we were kids but so often forget it as bosses. Research shows one of the biggest reasons people stop trying in any job (including the job of ‘spouse’) is they believe they don’t make a difference. But if you got ‘thanked’ every day, how could you ever believe you don’t make a difference? People never get tired of hearing a sincere ‘thank you.’

Celebrations. Create a culture of celebration. Look for any business or human reason to celebrate a new customer signed up, a commitment met, a birthday or engagement. Whether it’s an award, a plaque, a party or just ordering pizza for the team on Friday, celebrate!

A special experience for an individual or the team. This is sort of a celebration on steroids.  It could be concert tickets, a special activity or adventure. One of our recent clients takes his management, supervisory and sales team for a three-day adventure after each annual sales meeting. This year, the destination was a fabulous fishing lodge these folks would typically never get to on their own. Since the company is in the outdoor adventure gear industry, the lodge experience was a perfect fit. The better the fit, the more powerful the acknowledgement.

Reward and honour spouses, partners and family also. If a work assignment takes a staff member away from their spouse, partner or family for a period of time, make it up to them by giving them a gift certificate for a fancy dinner, weekend away or some other activity that will make you and your staff member a ‘hero’ with the family.

A promotion or job title. Both recognize an employee’s effective contribution. Just make sure you don’t promote someone to a position for which they’re not suited or properly trained. That’s a career ‘death sentence’ – not a recognition or reward. This is a huge problem in many businesses.

A bonus or a raise. Clearly, a bonus or raise is a welcome recognition of effective performance or increased responsibility. Bonuses should always be tied to specific commitments being met or exceeded. For example, most ‘Christmas bonuses’ are not performance bonuses and should be called what they really are – a Christmas gift.

But beware, a tiny, insignificant raise can be an insult not a recognition. A very capable friend of mine recently quit his job when, after five years, he was given a ten-cent an hour raise.

So, there you have it. Six ways to recognize and reward your team. Which of these will you be sure to implement? For even more ideas on how to make staff feel more important and be more engaged, click here to download my business tool (#B-22) entitled ‘20 tips to help your staff feel important and be more engaged.’ 

Here’s something else to think about:
My business quote of the week: “With wages and benefits increasing rapidly in order to attract and retain top performers, there’s an even greater need to achieve world-class operating systems, processes and efficiency in every part of your business.”

Energy consumption fact. Keeping buildings warm in winter accounts for about 25% of total global energy consumption.

Evaluate your talent pipeline. I’ve just read the average age of nuns in the United States is 80 years and for priests it’s 70. The Catholic Church has a broken HR (human resources) model. They don’t have a sustainable talent pipeline. Taking a vow of ‘poverty, chastity and obedience’ just doesn’t cut it anymore.

Do you have a sustainable talent pipeline in your business? If not, you’re in trouble. Click here to download my recently updated business tool (#A-17) Rate Your Talent Pipeline.

Being green, healthy and sustainable is not as clear-cut as many think. Many folks have switched to dairy alternatives such as almond milk. But it takes about four litres of water to produce a single almond, and most of the world’s almonds are grown in drought-stricken California.

Cotton clothing is embraced as being better for the planet than clothing made from synthetic fabrics. But the truth is very different from perception. Cotton is the most heavily sprayed crop. Runoff of pesticides, fertilizers, and minerals from cotton fields contaminates rivers, lakes, wetlands, and underground aquifers. The cotton needed to produce one cotton shirt requires about 2,700 litres of water (about 600 gallons).

That’s it for this week. Stay safe and live brilliantly!

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This HGO article was written by:
Donald Cooper
Donald Cooper

Donald Cooper has been both a world-class manufacturer and an award-winning retailer. Now, as a business speaker and coach he helps business owners and managers throughout the world to rethink, refocus and re-energize their business to create compelling customer value, clarity of purpose and long-term profitability.

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