Recognizing Effort At All Levels by Cindy Stradling CSL, CPC

One of the common issues with today’s fast-paced business environments is the lack of personal recognition for effort. Most leaders, managers, and supervisors are willing and very ready to provide recognition for outstanding performance or for meeting stretch goals, but they often lack focus or perhaps the awareness of how important it is for employees to be recognized for hard work and top effort, even if there is not a spectacular result.

A good example of this is people that are working through changes in an organization or company. This could be employees taking on new roles that are created through downsizing or combining positions to decrease overhead, or it could be in implementing new processes or protocols that may involve increased use of technology, specialized equipment, or even different procedures that have to be followed.

Reducing Frustration

For these employees, a few words of recognition from a supervisor, manager, or a leader in the business can be a very welcome and appreciated change. In many of the cases discussed above, the employees are working diligently not just to learn new aspects or requirements of their job, but to also work with technology and processes that may be challenging to master.

When an individual in a leadership role recognizes and acknowledges this effort, it is easier for the employee to deal with frustration. He or she hears that the effort they are putting forth is acknowledged and that their attempts to gain proficiency, to get a job done under difficult conditions, or to take on additional roles is important to those in the leadership roles in the company.

Being Authentic

It is important to be authentic when providing recognition. Make the comments personalized and applicable to the effort you see or that you know the employee is putting forth.

Be specific with the feedback. A quick “Good job,” is often seen as an off-the-cuff remark, and carries limited impact. However, taking the time to specifically detail what the employee is doing, “Great job in mastering that new software, I know it is very different from the old program we used,” is much more effective and shows personal attention to detail that is missing from the first example.

It is also possible to send an email, drop a personal note on the employee’s desk, or perhaps recognize the individual with a small token of appreciation. Many companies now provide gift certificates or other “perks” for jobs well done, particularly if a customer reports top service or a supervisor sees an employee go beyond the basics to help the team.

Taking the time to recognize effort costs nothing to the leader, but it provides a wealth of positive experiences for the employees.