When managing a team, it is important to recognize actions that need to be changed, but it is also perhaps more important to reinforce the behaviors your company wants to see more frequently. Unfortunately, positive reinforcement is not practiced, nor emphasized, nearly as much as it should be. Employees want recognition for a job well done and, in fact, the Huffington Post reports, “86 percent of employees say they feel happier at work as a result of being recognized, while 85 percent say recognition made them feel more satisfied with their jobs. Additionally, 70 percent of employees say recognition made them feel happier at home.”
What type of results could you get if employees felt happier, more proud of their work, and more satisfied with their jobs? Research suggests customer satisfaction, profitability, and productivity will all improve when you are recognizing employee success the right way. Let’s discuss a few ways an organization can recognize an employee using good technology.
Ideas For Your Recognition Process
Formal, Documented Recognition: Many organizations use their performance management application to house official commendation forms. These forms, like the less-formal notes mentioned below, then become part of the employee's permanent personnel file. By keeping such forms and notes in performance management applications, HR leaders are able to run reports on the data. See the video above for a specific real-world example of such capabilities. It also allows you to verify that your top performers are being identified through your official commendation processes in order to have a well-correlated recognition process. You’ll want to be sure those you officially recognize are those receiving top performance review scores. If they aren’t, you may be measuring the wrong criteria.
Emailed, Formal Notes: A great way to recognize an employee is by sending a note and cc’ing their boss or other up-line managers. These notes can be added to the performance management application to make them a permanent part of the employee’s personnel file. Top performance management applications also let you create notes from within the application. This gives managers one central location to save any important compliments an employee receives. They can then be used to enhance a performance evaluation or other such review. Keeping everything in one location makes the process more simple during review season.
Public, “High-Five” Tools: We’ve recently seen the emergence of applications and tools that allow employees to give each other “high-fives” for a job well done. Tools like Bonusly or the peer-to-peer feedback functionality built into quality performance management applications can meet those needs. These applications allow instantaneous feedback and typically are used to point out something a coworker did well. Because recognition can come from coworkers, managers have an opportunity to see results they may not have otherwise been privy to. It also gives coworkers a way to build their own informal bonds which are vital to the smooth functioning of a team/division/company.
Ongoing Coaching and Evaluations: Managers and employees should meet regularly to discuss work and expectations. This should take place in both formal (e.g., annual reviews) and informal settings (e.g., monthly check-ins). Managers should be ready to share clear, genuine, examples of times that the employee has done things well. These examples should be noted directly in the performance review throughout the year so the employee knows they are getting an official pat on the back.
As organizations consider how they recognize employees, they need to keep in mind the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Each employee, and perhaps different divisions, have different ways they want to be recognized in order to produce their very best work. As you understand the intrinsic and extrinsic needs of your employees, you’ll be able to better tailor incentives that will resonate with them.
While recognition is important, it is only part of what makes a healthy workplace. You also can’t recognize everything that should recognized, but given the importance of positive feedback, be sure to be intentional in the way you use and track it. If you leverage technology in your employee recognition, you’ll be able to identify important trends and internal priorities that will help you make better decisions about how to move your organization forward.
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