Like some of our favorite superheroes who wore masks to avoid the spotlight, some of your best in-house talent are doing great work behind the scenes. Recognizing their efforts out of the spotlight is one of the best ways to keep your team motivated, as they chase those business wins both big and small! Ultimately, it’s all about building a culture of recognition in the workplace.
Organizations with recognition programs which are highly effective at enabling employee engagement had 31% lower voluntary turnover than organizations with ineffective recognition programs.” — Deloitte
The importance of employee recognition is indisputable, so it’s crucial to prioritize recognition in the workplace. One of the best places to start with: The humble meeting.
You’ve probably had so many meetings in your lifetime, that you’ve quickly lost count. It’s because meetings are so regular and ubiquitous that they’re perfect opportunities to pioneer a better, stronger culture. So you know it’s worth doing, how are you going to get there?
Here are give tips for building a culture of recognition in the workplace through your meetings.
1. Cook up an appreciation sandwich
It’s as effective as it sounds delicious! An appreciation sandwich aims to start and conclude the meeting with opportunities to show appreciation to the team.
A good way to begin is through establishing the agenda and recognizing your team’s collective efforts in the broader business mission. Take time to identify how everyone’s work has pushed the team and the company as a whole closer to their goals.
Ultimately, you’re putting everyone’s efforts in context of the business vision and bringing everyone onto the same page.
An individual’s motivation and subsequent discretionary effort [has] a strong correlation to whether or not they felt their work [is] important…it’s about empowering each person to see the connection between the business strategy and their individual work.” — CMS Wire
Conclude the meeting with an opportunity for individual employees to identify wins from fellow team members. These moments of appreciation don’t have to be long. Rather, effective recognition requires regularity.
2. Bring everyone onboard
Culture begins with everyone. First and foremost, your managers aren’t omniscient beings, so it’s near impossible for them to catch everything. They won’t always be there to witness Sally’s nearly seamless software configuration or Dave’s accounting magic at it’s best come tax time—and they can’t be expected to witness everything.
Recognition from fellow employees means it’s easier to celebrate all of the wins—no more forgotten wins slipping through the cracks. Furthermore, many people often find peer recognition in the workplace the most rewarding.
Peer-to-peer is 35.7% more likely to have a positive impact on financial results than manager-only recognition.” — Globoforce
The end of your meeting is a great time to give a quick shout-out and pat on the back to those legends that have gone above and beyond.
One way of collecting those wins is through a quick pre-meeting survey, giving everyone the chance to nominate people who they’ve seen doing great things that week. Creating a physical “wins” board is also a great option for recognizing everyone’s efforts and it becomes a conversation starter around the office.
3. Follow up with an actionable summary
The secret to brilliant meetings isn’t just about what happens within those minutes at the table. A successful meeting involves the following.
- Everyone walks in knowing the agenda and objectives of the meeting.
- Everyone walks away with greater knowledge, understanding and a clear direction to meeting team objectives. Excitement levels are high following a productive meeting, your next best steps are mapped out and your team is onboard to put your game plan into action.
- Within 24 hours of your meeting coming to an end, it’s crucial to send a follow up email summarizing key points raised in the meeting—the sooner, the better! An actionable summary highlights the current situation, next best steps and team wins to celebrate.
4. Celebrate curiosity and learning
Investing in someone is a testament to your belief in their potential. You’re on their team, recognizing the blood, sweat and tears going into their work, appreciating their efforts and equipping them with the tools they need.
Ultimately, encouraging learning and development goes hand in hand with a recognition-rich workplace, so take the time in each meeting to check in with your self-motivated learners. Who’s taken time out of their week to “upskill” or recently completed a new certification or course?
Through encouraging curiosity and recognizing wins you’re motivating your team to go above and beyond and chase those business wins!
5. Always, always, say thank you
“Thank you” is one of those phrases parents will hammer into our heads from the time we’re little, yet it’s often overlooked and underrated. Saying thanks is a no-brainer for nurturing a culture of recognition in the workplace.
We give our best effort if the work gets us interested and excited, if we feel that it’s providing meaning and purpose, and if others appreciate what we’re doing.” — Janice Kaplan, author of The Gratitude Diaries
The secret to saying thanks the right way: Be specific. Identify the specific ways key individuals have gone the extra mile in the past week or month and thank them for their work. Often, big change can start simply with small words of gratitude.
At the end of the day…
Great business begins with great people. You’ve got the team together, so showing them you care and are on the same page with the same mission is a big motivator. When you’ve got your dream team together doing great work, everyone’s a winner—make sure they feel that way! How are you pursuing a stronger culture of recognition in the workplace?