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Make Recognition Meaningful

October 16, 2013

Daily ReadMake Recognition Meaningful

An easy way to encourage a young child to keep playing a sport or activity is for them to receive a trophy at the end of the season. While this kind of recognition is not earned, at a young age the trophy is quite meaningful. Fast forward twenty years and the trophy can lose its meaning. Everyone likes to feel like a winner but not everyone deserves it. Here are five ways to reward the accomplished and make others strive:

  1. Consider All Parties. When deciding how to make recognition meaningful, there are two angles to consider. First, recognition should be meaningful to the company (tied to a quantifiable goal) and second, recognition should be meaningful to the recipient.
  2. Make Recognition Meaningful.  One reason the Nobel Prize is so sought-after is that it comes with about $1.2 million in cash.  While mugs and plaques are great, consider rewarding with a limited resource such as cash, a nicer office or extra time off.
  3. Ask What Matters.  Different personality types are motivated by different things, which might include public or private recognition, money, awards, lunch out with the boss, vacation points or a day off. How do you know what matters the most? Just ask.
  4. Don’t Be Stingy.  The most effective form of recognition is a simple written or verbal thank-you, initiated by the manager, and when it is contingent upon performance–not simply for showing up. Rarely is anyone accused of being too generous!
  5. Never Too Much Recognition.  Millennials love recognition. But do you know who else loves recognition? Everybody. We all love praise and recognition. It motivates us and makes us feel valued and happy. So err on the side of over-recognizing.

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