Perfecting Your Employee Recognition Skills

While being positive comes as second nature to some people, complaining seems to be a much more developed skill than praising. Many people find it difficult to be only positive; it’s as if they can’t help themselves adding a crushing blow. Think back to the character Carolyn Burnham (Annette Bening) in “American Beauty” when she praises her daughter Jane (Thora Birch) for her cheerleading performance. She says, “I was watching you very closely, and you didn’t screw up once.”

It’s often said that, in communication, we get the response we deserve. Bear this in mind the next time you ask for an additional task to be completed. Listen to the words that you use.

  • When you apologize, do you find yourself saying: “I’m really sorry that I have to drop this on you…”
  • Do you antagonize, saying: “Whether you like it or not, you’ll have to do this by 5pm.”
  • Do you empathize, saying: “I know this is a pain but it really needs to be done.”
  • Do you sympathize, saying: “Poor you! This extra work probably means overtime.”
  • …or do you enthuse, by saying: “Hey, you’re just the person who can help me! I need this urgent job to be done today, and I was thinking you’d be the best person to get it out accurately and on time.”

No prizes for guessing which approach gets a more energetic response. Enthusiasm breeds enthusiasm and if you can embed a few pieces of recognition in your request (without sounding sarcastic), you’ll stand a better chance of getting a motivated performance.

When you’re actually praising someone, try to tell them how you feel. “It made me proud that I work for the same company when I saw you handling that complex customer problem”, means so much more than, “Good job, keep it up.” “I wish I had your comic timing. Your ability to make people laugh and feel motivated to get on with the toughest and most unpleasant of jobs leaves me in awe.” says more than “I’m impressed, carry on, dude!”

Also make an attempt to acknowledge that you really did understand that the behavior was appropriate; “I was especially impressed when you offered to call them to update them on progress at the end of the day. That’s a great standard to work to.”

Managers can develop a crippling disability when they use language variously known as “verbal diarrhea”, “let me tell you what you mean” and “that’s not the way I’d do it”. As people climb the management ladder, there’s a tendency for them to lose the listening skill and to gain an add-on to their verbosity skills. This is not surprising as they are probably expected to talk for most of the day; however, when it comes to gathering information to promote informal recognition, keeping your ears open and your mouth shut is an essential skill.

6 Ways to Decrease Employee Stress and Increase Productivity

If you’d like your business to employ highly motivated and high-energy level employees, making an investment in the workplace atmosphere and facilities will help to reduce workplace stress significantly.  Research confirms that if your employees are stressed, that will cost you even more money in missed workdays and increased on-the-job injuries over both the short term and the long term.

In addition to the negative repercussions of having stressed out employees, your business may be experiencing lower productivity and poor quality of output.  It’s both clear and obvious that some very cost effective strategies could minimize stress on the job and provide your employees with opportunities to reduce other stress related problems.

Below is a list of 6 ways in which you can help your company reduce stress for your employees while increasing the output of your business:

  1. Provide an attractive and comfortable work environment whenever possible to reduce stress.  Pleasant surroundings can do more for a person’s attitude than we often realize.  Create a less formal atmosphere by adding plants or improved decoration, even if it’s just in a rest room, it’ll help.
  2. Supply a quiet room for your employees to take their breaks in; this room should be separate from the normal “hustle and bustle” of the workplace. It’ll give your employees an opportunity to take a quick 10 minute break from work and any work related stress they may be experiencing.
  3. Instead of giving orders 100% of the time, try to create opportunities for employees to make decisions that will directly affect their job performance. This gives them a sense of personal power and less stress because they feel as if they have some control.
  4. Thank your employees for work accomplished and recognize them for exemplary performance. A quick thank you will go a long way in reducing complaints and stress. Be genuine and only thank your employees when they’ve done well; otherwise, you’ll be rewarding sub-standard activities.
  5. Always choose ergonomically sound equipment, tools, and furniture. These will make work easier for your staff, reduce workplace injuries, and therefore, limit any compensation claims. In addition, workplace stress will be reduced and staff, equipped with the correct tools, will be more productive.
  6. Go out of your way to create opportunities for the employees to meet, socialize, and build relationships away from work.  Set up a work bowling team where you gather and play once a week or maybe a softball team, or even a book club, for employees only.

When your staff realizes you have their interests in mind and are doing all you can to improve working conditions, they’ll respond and you’ll see an improved atmosphere and productivity.


Feel free to leave comments on this topic; I’d love to hear from you.