By Mike Cieri, MSIR, Vice President of Mardac Consultants
Last month, we looked at ways to correct behavior effectively. Now let’s look at the importance of recognition and praise. If we want to be assured that certain behaviors will continue, we need to identify and reinforce that behavior with praise.
A survey by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources found that recognition activities contributed significantly to employee job satisfaction. Most respondents said they valued day-to-day recognition from their supervisors, peers, and team members. Other findings from the survey include:
- 68% of the respondents said it was important to believe that their work was appreciated by others.
- 67% agreed that most people need appreciation for their work.
- 63% agreed that most people would like more recognition for their work.
- Only 8% thought that people should not look for praise for their work efforts.
The question is, what is the proper mix of positive versus negative (constructive criticism) comments?
Zenger & Folkman’s research shows that the average ratio for the highest-performing teams was 5.6 (that is, nearly six positive comments for every negative one). The medium-performance teams averaged 1.9 (almost twice as many positive comments than negative ones.) But the average for the low-performing teams, at 0.36 to 1, was almost three negative comments for every positive one. Thus, to have an average performing team, you need at a 2:1 ratio.
Giving praise and recognition doesn’t have to take a lot of time or be expensive. What it needs to be is specific and as soon as possible to the event. For example, “I really liked the way you helped that customer through their issues by listening and giving them alternatives.” Rather than, “Great Job today!”
Below are some suggestions for giving praise and recognition.
- Emphasize achievements rather than failures and celebrate the successes publicly. If it’s not delivered publicly, the recognition loses much of its impact on the individual and organization.
- Verbal rewards are cost effective and easy
- When you see it, say it.
- Write a Thank You card.
- If possible, everyone values some extra time off
- Gifts or gift certificates are always nice
- Travel or a chance to attend a conference is also a way to recognize peak performers
There are many more examples you can use to recognize your associates. It doesn’t have to cost a lot to do it.
“I can live for two weeks on a good compliment” – Mark Twain
About the author:
Mike Cieri, MSIR, is Vice President of Mardac Consultants and been in the Human Resource Management field for over 20 years. During this time he has held a variety of management positions, including several years on the executive management team of a large corporation as Vice President of Human Resources and Safety, as well as Vice President of Operations.