The power of recognition

Kate shares her thoughts on reward and recognition.

Speak to any business owner at the moment and they will tell you that the competition for recruiting and retaining talent is fierce. Recognising and rewarding employees has always been a key part of effective leadership but now, more than ever, the way organisations show that they value their people is a key differentiator – and I am not talking money.

Even before Covid-19 hit the world, we were in the midst of a social revolution, where belonging, purpose and quality of life were taking over from traditional status driven markers such as job title and high salaries. Today’s workforce want to work for organisations who have strong values and beliefs, where the culture is focused around the employees and not the hierarchy, where they have a voice and can help to shape the future of that organisation. Things like flexibility of working hours and opportunities to develop and learn, which might have been offered as incentives or rewards are now a basic expectation. Put simply, if you don’t help them grow, watch them go!

Recognition helps employees see that their company values them as individuals, as well as their contributions to the success of their team and the organisation overall. This is particularly key when going through periods of change or growth as it helps employees to build a sense of security in their value to the company, motivating them to continue great work. Communications also has an important role to play– regularly sharing news about how the company is performing against its aspirations and making the connections between individual employee achievements and the bigger picture vision for the organisation.

At our core as humans we crave recognition. It’s all very well having self-satisfaction in completing a task but how great does it feel when someone takes the time out to recognise a job well done? This can be as simple as a ‘thank you’ from a peer or a Manager taking time to give someone a call. The thing to remember is that there is no ‘on size fits all’ when it comes to recognising and rewarding employees. My advice is to get to know your people, find out what motivates them, what their ‘love language’ is (Google it – it’s a great team discussion to have!) and create a reward and recognition programme that works for your greatest asset – your people.

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