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Ideas to Read and Pass Along

Kevin & Jackie Freiberg

Recognition Guidelines

Whether they are aware of it or not, everyone wears a sign permanently attached that says: MAKE ME FEEL SIGNIFICANT. Dr. Gerald Graham at Wichita State University conducted a study and asked employees what they wanted most in terms of recognition. Their answer certainly wasn’t rocket scientific. What people want most is a:

  • Personal Thank You
  • Written Thank You
  • Thank You to the Family

When you celebrate someone’s contribution and recognize their performance keep in mind three simple, but important guidelines. Using these criteria will help you make the recognition more powerful:

Make it timely.

Waiting too long communicates a lack of importance and dilute the impact of the recognition. Recognition with a sense of urgency says, “You’ve made such an impact we couldn’t wait to tell you!”

Be authentic.

People know when they are being glad-handed and you’re better off foregoing the recognition than to do it pretentiously. Bottom line: It must come from the heart with enthusiasm and it must be delivered in a fashion that is consistent with who you are.

Be specific.

Describe the specific impact the person has had on others in the organization. Describe the specific impact the person has made to the results you are trying to achieve. The more specific your recognition is, the more it will be perceived as authentic.

Link it to values.

Show how their specific contributions exemplify the firm’s values and promotes the cause for which your business fights. Every recognition is an opportunity to reinforce what you value. People want to know that they are contributing to a larger cause. Linking your recognition to the values driving the organization shows your employees that they belong to something bigger than themselv