How to Make Recognition Meaningful

April 1, 2011

I spent most of this past week on the other side of the United States at our corporate headquarters. A majority of my time was spent in management meetings that are designed to get all of us development managers together to collaborate and learn from one another as well as become more informed about how we are doing on a variety of fronts, such as product/financial results, employee survey results, and to talk about what we need to do to improve the performance of our organization.

One area that we are focusing on is employee engagement. Since I’m an avid – and fast – reader, I loaded up my Kindle with a few books that I managed to work my way through during my flights. One of them was, We: How to Increase Performance and Profits through Full Engagement by Rudy Karsan and Kevin Kruse.

Karsan and Kruse make some interesting points about engagement, and the one that I’ll focus on here relates directly to something that we’ve been making an effort to improve on: recognizing our employees. We all understand that people like to be recognized for their efforts, but there is a related and vitally important aspect of recognition, and it begins with valuing people.

What is the difference?

Recognizing an individual is done when they’ve been successful at something, whereas valuing someone is letting them know you are glad that the person is on the team.

Think about it. Recognition without valuing someone is hollow, removing the satisfaction and meaning of the event for the employee. This means that as managers, we need to more than simply recognize people if we want engaged employees. We need to create an environment where people feel genuinely valued, and back that up with regular recognition.