Reward Your People for a Job Well Done
No one can deny the effect praise and recognition can have on people. Research shows that people who feel appreciated at work tend to be more productive and are willing to work harder than those who don’t feel valued. They are also more optimistic and are better able to cope with stress and difficult job duties, ultimately leading to higher job quality and higher job satisfaction.
Praise and rewards can also do wonders to bolster an employee’s self-confidence and morale. When you praise someone, you let them know you’re aware of their hard work. You acknowledge they’ve put forth a great effort to accomplish something and you’re celebrating with them for their accomplishment.
Recognizing the people around you will not only brighten their day, it will brighten yours, too. According to Dr. Richard Carlson in Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff at Work, when appreciating others, “you’ll feel peaceful and satisfied, like you’re on target and headed in the right direction…. It feels good to know that your helping another person feel acknowledged. It’s also nice to know you’re helping that person bring out the best in themselves.”
Here is how you can bring out the best in your team by appreciating their efforts:
- Be sincere in your praise. Don’t praise a worker merely to make them feel better. This is even more important to remember with family members. If your praise is insincere, you may be considered manipulative, and you don’t want to give that impression.
- Give praise when it’s due. You cannot follow the old adage, “Better late than never,” when it comes to praising someone. Express your praise as quickly as you can when you see that someone has done something praiseworthy.
- Be specific about your praise. Sure, you can tell someone they did a great job, but what was so great about it? “Your research paper was direct, to the point, and full of facts,” sounds much better than telling them they had a nice paper.
- Praise them in front of others. Giving someone a pat on the back in private may make a person feel good for a few minutes. Recognizing their contribution or success during a staff meeting will extend that good feeling into days, if not weeks.
There’s a double benefit to praising people in front of others: public praise may also encourage others to work harder as well.
Recognition Does Not Have to Cost You Anything
As with genuinely praising a team member, coworker, or even a family member when they’ve done well, there are other ways to reward them without having to spend money. Here are a few:
- Reduce their supervision. Some people are happier and do much better work when they’re allowed to work on their own. Giving an employee more freedom can be an excellent reward.
- By giving your employees less supervision, you’re letting them know they’re trusted and you have confidence in their abilities.
- If you truly trust your employee to do their work without supervision, allow them the flexibility to work from home on occasion. Of course, whether or not you can allow your employees to work at home will depend on the work they do.
- Give a new title to team members who go above and beyond the call of duty. Job titles don’t always have to mean more money. Sometimes receiving a title means more than getting a few more dollars in their paycheck. It shows that you’re pleased with their work.
- Publicly recognize people that do their job well. At your next staff meeting, present that person with a certificate. Create a bulletin board in the staff lounge that has photographs of honored employees to continue to recognize them for their good work.
- Encourage your team by giving them discount coupons to local businesses in your area. This could be a free movie and popcorn at the movie theater, reduced entrance at a family park, or a coupon for a free turkey for the holidays.
Employees who feel like they matter are much more willing to give their all for the company. They will be more engaged, more loyal, and they will be your best supporter.
If You Are the One Feeling Unappreciated
A recent Gallup poll showed that lack of workplace appreciation is a major concern among employees. It’s not that surprising when you think about the possible reasons. Some of your coworkers could feel too competitive to notice you. Your boss could think that keeping you on the payroll proves they’re satisfied with your performance, and any of your colleagues could be uncomfortable or unfamiliar with handing out praise.
If you are feeling undervalued, you may need to shake things up. Start with these suggestions to create more recognition for yourself and your colleagues.
Give Recognition to Others
If you encourage a more grateful and caring office culture, some of the benefits are bound to come your way. Plus, you’ll avoid the potential pitfalls of conspicuous self-promotion.
- Share credit. Put your ego aside and show that you’re interested in the whole team. If you acknowledge others’ contributions, they’re more likely to do the same for you.
- Praise skillfully. Specific feedback is more effective than general statements. Recognize your coworkers for their negotiation skills or marketing savvy instead of just saying that they did a great job. Remember that sincerity counts too.
- Support formal programs. If your employer has established recognition programs, learn the details and participate enthusiastically. You may be the next employee of the month.
- Socialize more. Ensure you get to know your colleagues. Take time out for small talk and listen closely to what they have to say. Even when many people are working from home to restrict face-to-face contact, you can connect by phone or video chat.
- Build your network. Develop a habit of helping others. Nurturing relationships will give you allies who believe in your abilities and talents.
Gain Recognition for Yourself
You can call attention to your accomplishments in a constructive way. Learn how to increase your visibility without having to brag. Here’s how:
- Ask for feedback. Find out what others think of your performance. Constructive feedback helps you to learn and grow.
- Track your achievements. Document your victories on a regular basis so you’re ready to show how your work makes a difference. Come up with compelling stories to make your experiences interesting to share on social media or your next job evaluation.
- Stay updated. Be knowledgeable and informed about your industry. Read annual reports and news stories. Attend conferences and networking events.
- Accept compliments graciously. When you do receive recognition, take advantage of the opportunity. Express your gratitude and let others know that they’ve brightened your day. Enjoy your moment in the sun without feeling self-conscious.
- Talk with your boss. Work at having a strong and positive relationship with your supervisor. Clarify their priorities and make them your own.
- Expand your role. Pay attention to how your position fits into the bigger picture. Think strategically and look for ways to take on more responsibility. Volunteer for high-profile projects or serve on a committee with coworkers you want to get to know better.
- Project confidence. You’re more likely to receive recognition if you believe in your own worth. Stand tall and minimize nervous gestures. Make eye contact and speak up at meetings.
Unconditional self-esteem is the most profound recognition you can receive at work or home, but it’s nice to know that your colleagues appreciate you too. Being acknowledged for your contributions makes your job more enjoyable and increases your chances for advancement.
When you reward others for the work they do and feel rewarded for your work, you, the team, and everyone you interact with will feel less stress and be more willing to do what it takes to do a great job. Everyone related your project will reap the benefits.