As many Americans will be celebrating the century old tradition that is ‘Thanksgiving’ this week, it provides the perfect opportunity for employers to reflect on how often they offer thanks and praise to their employees. Whilst Thanksgiving may have evolved into a turkey eating, football supporting, Macey’s parade watching event, the original tradition stems from when the Pilgrims and Indians joined over a feast to give thanks to each other and god for getting through a difficult harvest. The gratitude shown to each other is something which many employers forget to embrace in the workplace, yet a little recognition and praise can have a significant impact on employee engagement and productivity.
A recent article by Gwen Morgan in Entrepreneur magazine supports the importance of ensuring employees present their workforce with praise and recognition and not just criticism. In the article Morgan argues that offering praise is a ‘soft skill’ which many managers struggle to utilise, often getting caught up in a vicious cycle of criticism, failing to realise the huge impact praise can have on an employees’ self esteem, motivation and engagement.
Here are 5 easy ways to incorporate performance-boosting praise into your organisation (as suggested by Morgan) with effective ways to introduce reward and recognition tools.
1. Stop and talk to employees
As you walk through your office, take time to stop and talk to employees, thanking them for their hard work. All too often face to face recognition is lost amongst the day to day pressures of work. Make sure you find a personable way to express your thanks.
2. Pinpoint praise-worthy acts
Encourage managers and employees to point out team members and co-workers who are working hard on a project or going above and beyond their job description. By investing in an effective motivation and recognition scheme, employers are able to praise employees for specific tasks and send appropriate rewards through an online portal.
3. Reward good ideas
Employees who find ways to save money or improve operations are valuable assets and need to be recognised. If someone in your organisation makes an improvement, make a big deal about it and thank the person publicly. Vouchers or reloadable cards are an effective method of recognising employee innovation, instead of monetary bonuses which tend to be spent on bills. Vouchers and gift cards ensure that employees reap the rewards for their ideas.
4. Don’t forget to praise productive failure
Sometimes hard-fought battles don’t work out as planned, but still deserve praise. In order to get your employees heads back in the game sending e-thank you cards are a positive way of recognising the effort your employees have put in to trying to achieve their goals.
5. Recognise milestones
When an employee hits the five or 10 year mark within your company, do something! Keeping good employees is critical for any business to succeed. Long gone are the days of giving staff a standardised carriage clock. Gift cards, vouchers and voucher cheques enable your Long Serving employees to choose where and what they spend their Long Service Award on, ensuring these sort of rewards are valued highly.
So whilst we wish our friends across the pond a very Happy Thanksgiving, it’s time for UK employers to turn their attention to praise and recognition within the workplace. Remember ‘a little thanks goes a long way!’
John is responsible for the motivation division of p&mm ltd and a Director on the board of the IPM. Specialising in developing, implementing and directing many large scale staff motivation, recognition and employee communications programmes.
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