Among most human capital management professionals, there’s an undying sense of urgency to foster employee retention and productivity. After all, that’s the entire point of the job – you want to build a staff that achieves at a high level and makes the business profitable. So for this reason, you try all sorts of strategies for measuring their production and motivating them to do better.
You institute “employee of the month” awards designed to celebrate your top performers and incentivize others to keep up. You set up review sessions with your employees to talk about their progress and suggest ways they can improve. You implement point systems, scores, grades and much more.
The problem is that many of these strategies can be far too formulaic. If you really want to make a difference in your employees’ lives, you need more than just a recognition program. Try something that feels genuine and human – reward your people. And not necessarily with money, either. Simply praising your staff members verbally and telling them they’re appreciated can be far more effective than a pile of cash.
According to Inc. magazine, recognizing your employees doesn’t have to be a matter of using a rigid corporate program just for the sake of it. HR speaker and influencer Jeff Haden sees things a different way.
“Effective employee recognition is mostly art, not science,” Haden argued. While a corporate program can be a great way to recognize employees, try simply making employee praise a part of your routine. Here are five tips for doing so:
Hunt for the positive
A lot of managers are actively hunting for flaws in their staff so they can make improvements. Why not try the opposite – hunt for things to praise, not correct? This positive energy could transform the culture.
Don’t wait – speak now
When you see an employee doing a great job, speak up and praise them immediately. The longer you wait, you risk the employee forgetting what they did or how they did it. Positive feedback is most effective when it comes without delay.
Give specific feedback
The more specific you can make your praise, the better. If you just blandly tell people that they’re doing a great job, they might not know what in particular they should keep doing. Point to what exactly you’re happy with about each employee.
Hold off on criticism
Sometimes, there’s a temptation to say, “You’re doing great, but here are a couple ways to improve.” This might not be the best idea, as it feels like you’re subtly negging the employee rather than rewarding them. Save the criticism for another time.
Spread out the kind words
Finally – remember that it’s not just your top performers who are worthy of praise. Everyone in your office deserves some kind words every now and then, so do your best to spread the love around. The whole staff will appreciate it.