4 Key Qualities to make Recognition Work:
Timely– when did the great job occur? Make sure the recognition can occur when everyone remembers what happened. Another words, in the same month. If your recognition takes longer, then think about whether the message is still effective.
Sincere – this is so important. If a manager says thanks and means it and follows up with why the action made a difference then the team will know what that manager wants, and what will happen when they succeed.
Specific – don’t use “cookie cutter” phrases or tired marketing speak or lack luster “good job” to reward a spectacular employee. Make sure you highlight details and examples of exactly what was “over the top” and guess what? you’ll get more of that same enthusiasm, task completion and hard work from your team!
Meaningful – make sure the praise you give relates back to the action and its importance. Don’t make managers that weren’t even there give awards. It always falls flat. Get the direct manager involved and make sure the details are correct when discussing a worthwhile effort.
If you don’t have a recognition program, then make that your first step: find out what your team wants. Make sure you understand what they expect. Listen to their stories about “the best recognition” they ever got or when an award went wrong. Even if they are laughing now, bad recognition takes some recovery time. Find out what happened before at your company. Discuss / brainstorm / solicit suggestions about “good” recognition. Not all recognition works for everyone!