This is a 12-part series.
Successfully leading a team can be one of the most rewarding aspects of a professional’s career. However, addressing a diverse group effectively can be difficult for new leaders to adjust to. From open communication and recognition to delegation and empowerment to self-awareness and empathy, there are a plethora of leadership arrows professionals must carry in their quivers to be successful. So during this yearlong series, we will examine 12 areas of focus and reveal practical tips to help new leaders in some of the most important aspects of leadership. Second up: recognition.
Sometimes overlooked as a less-imperative skill, the ability to give consistent recognition is one of the most important skills employees desire in their employer. In fact, according to an Achievers study, 93% of employees hope to be recognized at least on a quarterly basis; however, only 51% of employees feel like they received adequate recognition for their hard work. The gap between what employees want and what they are getting shows a clear area for improvement for leaders. Check out these three tips on recognition.
1. Use Recognition to Boost Performance
One of the most important aspects of maintaining a productive and competitive workforce is raising employee engagement. However, when leaders fail to give consistent recognition and show employee appreciation, it can be extremely difficult to build up their workforce. A study by Harvard Business Review found that 72% of employees have higher levels of employee engagement when given recognition, and 40% of workers said they would put more energy in their work if they were recognized more often. In a different study by SocialCast, 69% of employees would work harder if they believed their efforts were better appreciated.
2. Use Recognition to Bolster Job Satisfaction
While recognition helps build engagement and creates a productive workforce, it’s also directly linked to employee job satisfaction. According to BambooHR, 75% of employees who received either formal or informal recognition at least monthly reported being satisfied with their job. The more frequent the recognition, the higher the levels of job satisfaction among workers. The same study found that 85% of employees who received weekly recognition were satisfied with their job. From a simple “good job” to specific praise in front of peers, showing your employees recognition proves to improve overall morale and satisfaction.
3. Give Recognition Frequently and Consistently
The ability to consistently give recognition to your workforce is a critical skill for new leaders, and according to studies, it is a blind spot for many organizations. In their State of the American Workplace study, Gallup found that only three out of 10 employees “strongly agree that in the last seven days they have received recognition or praise for doing good.” In fact, one study found that employees reported on average 50 days since they last felt appreciated or recognized for a job well done. This is an area that when improved upon can directly impact your workforce, company culture, and competitive advantage.
Consider frequent one-on-one meetings instead of the more traditional annual performance reviews to acknowledge positive feedback. More than one-half of employees prefer this type of communication, while less than one-fifth prefer year-end reviews. Recognition programs that offer bonuses or gift cards for hard work can also be helpful; whereas the most tried and true way of showing appreciation is through a hand-written note.
What are some important recognition tips you’ve learned during your career? How has a focus on employee appreciation helped you lead a successful team? Let us know in the comments section below!