Happy employees, happy clients

Posted on Monday, October 5, 2015

Studies prove it: the best managers are those who recognize their employees’ work often and effectively, making them perform better with greater commitment to their work.

Recognition is a key factor in encouraging employee engagement and performance. Studies show that the simple act of providing positive feedback not only boosts employee confidence but also increases their intrinsic motivation. Employees who are recognized for good work feel a greater sense of self-esteem. This plays a significant role in how they see themselves and work with others. While salary and benefits are an external source of motivation (extrinsic motivation), internal (intrinsic) motivation has the greatest impact on employee engagement, job satisfaction and retention.

There are two types of recognition: formal and informal. In general, informal, daily recognition is most appreciated by employees. It’s important to note that recognition does not necessarily have to come from a superior — it’s just as effective coming from a peer.

Employees need to feel recognized for their efforts and know that others are grateful when they achieve desired results. For recognition to be truly meaningful, it must be: 

  • Timely — It’s important to recognize hard work and a job well done right when you see it.
  • Specific — Feedback must be linked to clearly defined goals and behaviour.
  • Personalized — What motivates one person doesn’t necessary motivate another, so it’s important to get to know what motivates each employee.
  • Disciplined — When it comes to recognition, you need to be consistent to make feedback part of your team culture.
  • Creative and innovative — The rewards that provide the greatest motivation are not necessarily the most expensive ones. An informal recognition program should be creative, fun and easy to run.

Employee recognition is everyone’s business and should be a priority at all times. Indeed, employees who are happier at work will be more willing to work with their clients, even the most difficult ones. 

Would you like to recognize one or more members of your team? Here are some simple and fun ideas to get the creative juices flowing:

Ideas for managers

  • Recognize the work of your team or of certain members at a team meeting. 
  • Assign an employee to a project or give an employee a responsibility that you know he or she will appreciate. 
  • Treat your whole team to coffee for a week. 
  • Write “Thank You” on a Post-It note and stick it on the employee’s workstation or door. 
  • Give your team an extended lunch hour. 
  • Be supportive of flexible work hours. 
  • Make popcorn Friday afternoon and invite the team to hang out. 

Ideas for peers 

  • Take a minute to highlight a colleague’s good work at your team meeting. 
  • During a project, make a photo collage of the project team hard at work, from start to finish. 
  • After a colleague has achieved something, cover his or her desk in balloons. 
  • If you receive positive feedback from a client about a colleague, pass it on to both the colleague and your supervisor.
  • Take a minute to share positive feedback with a colleague to recognize a particular effort or accomplishment.  
  • Organize a lunch or a team activity to celebrate the end of a tough period (for example, in late September after the start of the school year). 
  • Have cards handy with phrases like “You’re special because…” or “Nice work on…” and give them to colleagues when you think the time is right. 

This article was made possible through the collaboration of Human Resources and Student Services (Administrative Services). 

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