One of the activities I love to do is to bring clarity to commonly used language we use in our every day work as managers, leaders, and HR professionals…and that also address critical needs for successful business success.
One set of words we use frequently and that directly affect employee morale is employee appreciation, rewards & recognition.
You might find it interesting to note that each has its own definition and impact. It’s useful to understand this because, as we know, there are all essential to feeding and maintaining employee morale and motivation. As, we help clients implement our Smart Management Blueprint – it’s the 8th building block of our 9 steps for developing effective managers and teams. It’s built into the practice of managing – it’s not an option.
Beyond the 3 listed above, here are the 5 most popular, along with their specific definitions:
1> Recognize – notice its existence
2> Acknowledge – external expression of the fact, importance or quality of
3> Appreciate – recognize the full worth of – its value to…
4> Reward – make a gift (give a thing or serve) of something to (someone) in recognition of their services, efforts, or achievements.
5> Celebrate – mark something of meaning with fun, partying, excitement, praise or honor
As you review these, here’s what you might notice – each provide a different human experience. We commonly use some of these interchangeably – e.g. recognize – acknowledge, however, there is a difference.
For example you can recognize someone’s activity – internally notice – and yet not acknowledge it – externally express. Each of these serve their own distinct purpose. Of note, you have to have the first – recognized, notice for the others to occur.
Another – receiving appreciation from a manager has a different feeling/experience than receiving it from a colleague or a team.
I also think celebrating holds its own very unique impact. I don’t think we do this enough…in life in general, let alone in the work environment.
Just in case you’ve forgotten, all 5 are not optional to being an effective leader-manager, talent management, employee engagement…. you get the point. For those of you who consistently read our work, you know our philosophy is …meet the human needs and your bigness needs will be met as well.
2 Coaching tips:
1. Notice the distinctions and use accordingly.
2. Customized your rewards – survey your team members to find out what is personally meaningful to them. You can even categorize the rewards based on $ value – for example: under $ 25.00, $ 50-100. A company I worked for ( #1 on the INC 500 list) did this – under $ 25.00 metro cards were popular (this was in Chicago), $ 50-100 – dinner or theatre tickets…are some examples.
Several years ago there was a survey done of a group of health care workers. The question was asked, “What is the one thing you would like from your boss?” The #1, most popular answer was a handwritten thank you note. Interesting…