Create a Culture in Which Recognition is Ongoing

From my March 2000 Newsletter, on creating a culture motivating to employees.

A management team was wondering how to recognize their employees and appreciated publicly. It’s a great question to be asking, and a company that does a good job will create a wonderful culture. Let‘s go one step further and ask: how can we simply create a day-to-day work environment which gives that recognition? Public appreciation is nice, but it’s infrequent and often has an aura of “special event” to it. In my experience coaching, I find that people need a boost on an ongoing basis. In the best places in my own career, appreciation wasn’t a special event—it was part of our day-to-day living.

How to recognize your employees for doing a great job? One overlooked strategy is simply complimenting the person in the course of day-to-day work. Drop by their desk and tell them how great they’ve been. Public appreciation is great, but in my experience as a coach, I find that people also need little appreciative gestures on an ongoing basis:

  • when someone stays late, let them know you appreciate it.
  • when someone rearranges their personal life to accommodate work, thank them.
  • treat your team to a meal spontaneously.
  • give people a day off or a trip someplace cool. (needn’t be expensive, just fun)
  • buy your techies that fun new software package they want to play with [even though it has no business value].
  • listen to your employees’ opinions and consider the possibility that when you disagree, they may be right.
  • putting a huge stuffed animal on their chair to hug them when they arrive in the morning.
  • gift certificates to a movie. end meetings on time [shows respect for peoples’ time].
  • never schedule Monday meetings before 10 am, or Friday meetings after 3 pm [I would suggest never scheduling ANY meetings before 10 am or after 4 pm, since otherwise you risk having your night people / morning people only half-there].

How to Appreciate Your People

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