6 Steps To Recognising Individuals At Work

Motivation is one of the enigmas that many managers never quite seem to grasp the importance of. O yes, they may say they are motivational in their style, but when you ask their team members to honestly judge their line manager’s motivational skills, often the response is not as good as the manager would like to hear.

We know that one of the key motivators for staff is the aspect of recognition for a job well done. Why is this? Well, all of us have a need to feel valued at some level, that what we are doing is making a difference in some way. That fuels our self-esteem and self-concept, things that monitor how we feel about ourselves. So, when we are recognised for what we do, it makes us feel good about, not only ourselves, but it changes our feelings about the individual(s) who brought that feeling about.

How do we make sure, then, that we recognise individuals at work without it appearing patronising or being taken for granted? Here are 6 steps:

1) Make the decision to do it: Strange as it may seem, recognising people at work for what they do can be systemised, so start in your immediate sphere of influence and find out specifically what makes people tick. Don’t expect to get it right first time every time, but watch for what works and what doesn’t.

2) Be clear about what you want to achieve: What specifically do you want to recognise and reward? When should it be done? Where should it be done? How should you do it? What kind of response do you want and can expect? The answers to these questions will start you on the journey.

3) Watch the reaction when you start recognising people: Do they take you seriously?Are you getting the response you expected? Some staff may wonder which alien has replaced their manager.But if you do it specifically, at the right times and genuinely, you may find people reacting favourably.

4) Follow the right process: By this I mean the recognition should be specific, linked to the performance you want repeating, is positive, sincere, personal and done proactively.

5) Determine how you can recognise people at work: Think how you can make people’s work interesting for them. Help them see how their role plays out in the big picture of things. Feed information and quality communication to staff. That way, they will feel involved and that they matter. Involve them in decision-making so that they own some of the decisions made. Show them how much independence and autonomy they can gain in their work.

6) Keep the momentum going: Ask if you are getting the results you expected. Is your timing correct? Are you being individual in your recognition, or have you missed something? One manager organised a golfing day for his team, as recognition for their year’s work and to do some team building. He hadn’t taken into consideration that he was the only person in the team who liked golf!

Take personal responsibility for recognising individuals at work and you will no doubt see the benefits in the results you achieve.

Thanks again


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training   

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Updated on: 21 February, 2011

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