If your business uses frequent check-ins instead of annual performance reviews, you might wonder why recognition is still important. You talk to employees one-on-one on a monthly basis, so do you really need to take the additional time to recognize them?
The simple answer is yes, and the reason is just as easy to grasp. In essence, feedback and recognition are two separate things. Feedback is an overarching response to an employee’s performance. This response can be good or bad, but it encompasses the entirety of a person’s progress. Recognition is given in response to specific incidents. It’s always positive, and acts as a verbal reward for people who’ve done a good job.
As Business Insider pointed out, employees don’t get the same emotional response from a performance review that they do from recognition. The conversation during a review contains both compliments and corrections. Your staff feels good about the former but not so great about the latter. Recognition, on the other hand, is purely to point out when an employee does a good job. This grants your staff member immediate satisfaction, making them feel appreciated and boosting their engagement. Sometimes a little acknowledgement is all it takes to keep a great employee from burning out. In addition, the most effective recognition happens quickly. Although ongoing performance management involves frequent check-in sessions, these are usually scheduled, not spontaneous. A last-minute check-in may occur every now and then, but not terribly often. Recognition, on the other hand, can happen in real time. As soon as you get an excellent quarterly report in, you can send a company-wide email praising employees for such great numbers.
How Do You Best Recognize Employees?
Recognition is good, but what exactly should you praise employees for? Who should give these compliments, and what sort of reward is best?
As Forbes pointed out, too much praise can have the opposite of its intended effect. If you compliment employees for successfully completing an assignment within their job description, they begin to expect recognition for anything and everything. As a result, they won’t have incentive to go the extra mile, keeping them from exceeding their established objectives and key results. After all, if they’re praised for doing the bare minimum, why go above and beyond?
As for what type of recognition employees found most rewarding, money wasn’t the only option – nor the highest rated. Respondents to a Gallup survey said they also appreciated promotions, awards or certificates and private acknowledgement from managers, coworkers or customers.
Additionally, no one source of recognition proved better than the others. According to Gallup, 28 percent of employees said their most memorable acknowledgement came from their immediate manager. Meanwhile, 24 percent said it came from a high-level leader like an executive. Other sources of memorable acknowledgements came from peers and coworkers.
Gallup recommended recognition be delivered in a timely manner so employees can immediately associate their actions with your appreciation. By establishing a culture of frequent acknowledgement, you’ll end up with a more engaged workforce and experience less turnover.