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Recognize Others

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Recognize others in the way that works best for them.
  • Cultivate an environment of peer recognition.
  • Celebrate successes with your team.

Recognizing Others

Imagine it’s 5 PM on Friday. You’re exhausted and about to run out of the door. What a busy week! Do you feel good about what you’ve accomplished? Did your manager or your colleagues recognize you for your work this week?

When Monday rolls around, you want everyone to hit the ground running again. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone brought their A-game to work every day? If everyone put in that extra effort, right?

Sure, it’s easy to say that we want everyone on our team to work harder, be positive and enthusiastic, and feel motivated and engaged. And yet we often feel too busy to take the time to reflect on the great things that are happening and how we can appreciate others.

Think about the past week. Did you thank your team members for their hard work? Spend time recognizing accomplishments? Make your employees contributions visible in the organization?

Employees are more focused, engaged, and likely to stay when they feel that their work is regularly recognized.

These statistics from the Energy Project and Harvard Business Review are pretty amazing.

In this same study, when employees were asked what their leaders could do more of to help them feel more engaged, 58% said “Give more recognition!”

Another recent Harvard study also found that the best performing teams have team members and a manager who give each other six times more recognition than constructive feedback.

Wow, six times... really? Yes, really!

So how are you doing? Do you provide enough recognition? You’re not alone if you answered “not always.” Let’s figure it out together. Remember that Recognition = Better Performance + Motivated Employees

Recognition leads to better performance and motivated employees.

Take a look at why appreciation matters so much.

Recognizing Others in the Way That Works for Them

Let’s talk about John. He’s taken on a new project at work. Over the past three weeks he’s worked hard. Not only did the project call for him to step up into a leadership role under a tight deadline and bring work home every night, but it also required him to go above and beyond his typical role. He delivered everything on time, and the project was a great success.

Wow! He absolutely deserves recognition for his efforts. But how do you do it so that it’s meaningful to him? Does he want a public thank you in the team meeting? An email that goes to the group’s leader and others? A special lunch in his honor? A gift? What’s going to mean the most to him?

It’s important to get this right. It doesn’t matter how long you spend composing that email or what type of celebration you plan if John doesn’t value or want it.

It’s not just about recognizing others. It’s about doing it in a way that means the most to them.

  • Do you know how employees on your team prefer to be recognized?
  • Do they prefer public or private recognition?
  • Would time off be more welcome than a dinner in their honor?

Don’t leave it up to chance! Match the reward and recognition to the employee. Consider the individual’s:

  • Interests
  • Needs
  • Preferences
  • Values
  • Communication style

The best way to find out how individuals want to be recognized is to ask.

Try asking:

  • How do you like to be recognized?
  • What works? What makes you uncomfortable?
  • What means the most to you?
  • What makes you feel appreciated?

How much recognition you provide or in what form also depends on the situation. Choose wisely based on what you’ve heard them say is most important.

Don’t just recognize the rock stars on your team, recognize those working hard to improve and those doing a great job in the day-to-day. You’ll be a rock star if you recognize your team members appropriately.

Some ways to help employees feel valued and recognized aren’t as obvious. Don’t forget these actions.

  • Find opportunities for employees to grow and shine.
  • Teach people what you know.
  • Empower employees to make decisions on their own.
  • Ask employees for their opinions.
  • Give them a chance to set their own goals.

One Way We Recognize at Salesforce

At Salesforce, we give shout outs for great performance by using recognition in Slack. In addition to badges that recognize the demonstration of the great characteristics, employees can create custom, meaningful badges to recognize employees in real time.

Here are 80 more ways to recognize others.

Let’s sum it up.

Here are some tips for recognizing others...

  • Tailor recognition to each individual.
  • Don’t wait to say thanks.
  • Be specific.
  • Be genuine.
  • Find ways to recognize each member of the team.
  • Recognize others frequently.

Cultivating Peer Recognition

Encourage peer-to-peer recognition!

It’s not only your praise and thanks that makes a difference. It’s also important for colleagues to recognize each other. You can be a role model by giving frequent recognition and encouraging your team members to recognize each other. When peers recognize each other frequently, they feel more valued, engaged, and develop meaningful relationships with their colleagues.

Don’t assume that employees know how to recognize one another. Help them with the techniques you’ve learned about giving specific feedback when recognizing each other’s contributions.

If your company has a formal program to encourage peer-to-peer recognition, encourage your employees to use it. If not, set up some regular ways on your team for peers to recognize each other.

There are many different ways to recognize your peers like setting aside a few minutes in each meeting to recognize colleagues.

Remember, peer-to-peer recognition encourages a positive atmosphere and fosters an environment of collaboration and teamwork.

Celebrating Team Accomplishments

What about celebrating team success? It’s just as important.

Here are some options to consider.

  1. Schedule social time, and use part of it to recognize individuals or team effort.
  2. Start every team meeting with recognition of a few individuals.
  3. Give the team time off during or after a big project.
  4. Have a senior executive come into a team meeting to thank the team.
  5. Send an email to another team or senior leader to recognize the accomplishments of the team or specific individuals.
  6. Set up a “brag board” or place to give public recognition. For example, give a shout out on your team’s Slack channel.
  7. Take the employee or team to lunch.
  8. Do a special event together.
  9. Give personalized gifts, like gift cards.
  10. Say thanks regularly.

Get to know how your employees and team want to be recognized. Put it on your agenda for your next one-on-one or team meeting. And think about who you can recognize today. Then do it!


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