The preference of recognition

I guess it is true. Even a guy with the best work in the world (and the guy in the video is probably not so fat from that) wants to be recognized. Everybody wants to hear those simple words: “you did a great job”.

I have always believed in recognizing excellence. I think part of the failure of many of our systems, business, education (and even personal relationships) are due to the fact that we don’t take the time to recognize excellence (and even to recognize that someone is keeping the required standard). We put too much emphasis on those who are doing bad.

A few weeks ago I read a ChangeThis manifesto called: “The Recognition Microscope – Fuel for Human Acceleration” by Adrian Gostick & Chester Elton. Here is a quick excerpt:

From country to country, employee engagement scores in a massive global study were as much as two or three times higher when a manager offered frequent, specific and timely recognition—numbers that the researchers at Towers Perrin, a leading global human capital consulting firm who conducted this latest research for us, called not only statistically significant, but impressive in size and impact.

“Thank you,” obviously is a universal concept that has an underlying definition—meaning “Do that specific behavior again.”

One point that is very important and at least in the manifesto, I am not sure the writers touch it enough. The customization of recognition. It is not only important to recognize, it is important to find the right recognition for each person. This is not easy. And don’t make the mistake that your employees want the same kind of recognition you do. They don’t. One guy likes to be mentioned in front of the entire department. The other guy would find that embarrassing. Maybe, he just wants a personal thank you note.

So, how do you recognize your employees? Do you do it according to each employee preference?



2 Responses to “The preference of recognition”

  1. Derek Irvine, Globoforce Says:

    Interesting post. I covered a similar topic on avoiding negative recognition, which boils down to understanding what the right recognition is for each employee. As you note, this is not easy and complicated by different generational desires and expectations as well as vastly different cultural expectations of recognition. We’ve heard countless horror stories of recognition gone wrong, such as a clock given to Chinese employee or a gift certificate to a steakhouse given to a vegetarian. For more stories of wrecked recognition (and how it could have been made right, read on here:

  2. sherfelad Says:

    Hello Derek,
    Thank you for your response. It gave a different view on my point. Classic expectancy theory.
    I loved your post. Especially this part: “the boss couldn’t even be bothered to take five minutes to personally and sincerely thank the employee for his five years of effort and contribution”.
    Thanks and I hope you come back again to read the blog!

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