Informal Recognition Tips for Supervisors

The “Golden Rules” of Recognition

(taken from Harvey, E. (2000). 180 Ways to Walk the Recognition Talk. Dallas, Texas: Performance Systems Corporation.)

1. Remember that gimmicks, gadgets, and giveaways can make your recognition efforts fun and memorable.  But nothing (I mean NOTHING!) can replace a good, old-fashioned, sincere, look-’em-in-the-eye-and-say “thank you.”

2. LEND AN EAR!  Looking for a really low-cost way to recognize others?   Try listening to them!   Listening is one of the most underutilized recognition activities in the world.  (And one of the most underdeveloped skills!)  But it can have a big impact.  Whether a person is a peer, a direct report, a boss, or a customer, listening to them sends the message that you care.and that they are important.

3. Remember the “Platinum Rule.”  Recognize others the way they want to be recognized.  Don’t assume that others appreciate the same forms of praise that you do.  Successful recognition is in the eye of the receiver, not the giver.

When bringing a new employee into your department, ask them “When you do a good job, how do you like to be recognized?”   You’ll not only learn what motivates people, but you’ll also begin establishing an expectation that team members will do a good job!

4. BE ACCESSIBLE!  Make time for the people you work with- especially those that work for you.  The more attention you pay, the more important they’ll feel.

5. HELP THEM GROW!   Work with people to develop their talents and enhance their skills.  When you put time, energy, and resources into others’ development, you not only recognize their potential, but you also “set them up” for future successes.

6. FOCUS ON STRENGTHS more than you focus on individual weaknesses.  Use the “80/20 Rule”: spend 80% of your time reinforcing what’s going right and only 20% of your time trying to fix what’s wrong.   The fact is, most of the time things do go right.  And the attention you pay ought to reflect that.

7. THE LAST TIME?   Make a list of all the people who work with or for you.   Then go through your list and identify the last time you gave recognition to each person, and for what.  You should remember your last praising of most of the people on the list.    If not, you’re probably not doing it enough!

Some suggestions from your UMW Colleagues:

  • Bring flowers for your employee’s desk
  • Send Thank you notes
  • Remember birthdays
  • Make recognition a special event at big meetings
  • Treat your employee to lunch
  • Send supporting emails to those in the chain of command letting them know your employee is being recognized.
  • Let your employee leave early.
  • Walk around, greet employees, and catch them doing things right!!