It’s easy to fall into the trap of “no complaints mean things go well”. There are industries where this is the norm (shared service centres, customer service) and it doesn’t make us happy. That’s where internal recognition comes in.
We all need it
There were plenty of studies over the years about engagement, productivity and happiness at work, and recognition always took first or second place. It’s not surprising: how we feel about work influences how well we do it.
We all need it to be sincere
Don’t recognize someone who doesn’t deserve it just to tick a box. But do look at their work – can you really imagine that they didn’t do anything right today? If they did, can they get a thank you to reinforce the good job?
Sometimes we don’t see the results of our work, we can fall into a negative spiral and complain about everything. Sometimes it takes another person to say, “look, that reply you wrote, that calculation you did, that report you put together, it was superbly done, thank you!”
And then we look at it, and while we might diminish it at first, it will work in the back of our head for the better.
We all need it differently
In our company it’s customary to collect positive feedback, and read them out at company meetings. It’s a big forum, everyone is there and they call out your name, you go to the front and the big bosses read it out, shake your hand, and give you a thank you voucher.
Some people love it – I’m dreading it. Everyone’s looking at me, I get emotional, I don’t know what to do with my hands, where to look, how not to blush too much etc. I know I’m not the only one.
So we need to be careful how we give that recognition so the person we want to make happy, won’t feel it the opposite.
We need it to be specific
We don’t have to wait for a big thing to happen. Small achievements are just as important – put together they lead to the big results. A good email will lead to a good relationship, a good relationship will lead to a good reference, a good reference will lead to more business, etc.
Congratulations can be verbal, on the spot, with specific details so they know what to continue doing.
It can be written – I love giving hand-written notes because they’re so rare, and I love pens and papers, but sometimes an email would do as well.
Sometimes it’s between me and the other person, other times I like to share the good examples with the team or our managers.
The most important is that they are not just general words. The specific action, and the reason for this recognition makes it useful.
When was the last time you recognised a co-worker’s job?