Kudos – Giving Employee Recognition in a Way that Matters

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employee recognition

Great organizational leaders do it frequently and effectively. All employees need it. Positive corporate cultures thrive on it. To what am I referring? Giving employee recognition and praise.

While we know that receiving praise for a job well done costs nothing and fuels excellent work, many leaders haven’t mastered the fine art of giving meaningful kudos. Chartwell Agency offers training sessions to teams and leaders to boost their kudos-giving game. Here are a few of our tips to help your compliments hit the mark and leave your team members feeling energized and appreciated.

Be specific in your praise.

Ironically, most managers are specific when giving constructive feedback, but tend to throw out a general, “Great job!” to a team member that has delivered. While nice, these complimentary platitudes don’t resonate as meaningfully as a detailed and specific compliment. With employee recognition, we need to be as specific with the positive comments as we would be with corrections.

Next time, spend just a little more time articulating what exactly was great. Did she offer a thoughtful solution to a complicated program? Did he deliver even more than you expected, thinking through the next steps? Did she help create a team dynamic that made the project fun? By being specific, your team member will learn more about what you value, and it turn be able to deliver upon it.

Align praise to corporate values.

Employee recognition is a powerful way to reinforce a corporate culture. By aligning praise to specific shared values, you’ll not only show your gratitude, you’ll help your team identify what it looks like to deliver on specific corporate values like “consistently push the bar,” “be a team player,” or “achieve unexpected results.”  

Create opportunities for others to join in.

There’s the adage for managers about criticizing in private but praising in public. Employee recognition by nature is the act of publicly acknowledging your team members for their contributions. Those kudos are made even more powerful when they come from all levels of the organization – including peers. Since recognition is also a sign of gratitude, it’s magic when multiplied.

Share your praise via the company’s Intranet, through team message boards and group emails. Encourage others to pile on the kudos and watch the team dynamic and employee engagement soar.

Put action behind your words.

Once you’ve shared very specific praise, power your words with some action. This might be entrusting her with an important project or involving him in a decision. Of course, tokens of appreciation go a long way, too. Tell her you appreciate her “a latte” with a coffee gift card or that his idea was worth a “100 Grand” with a candy bar. If merit bonuses are options, team members always appreciate the extra cash (though don’t mistake to monetary gift as the primary motivator – it’s still ultimately still the praise that matters most).

Don’t use praise to sugar-coat another message.

It’s natural to want to use some praise to soften a criticism but beware of extending positive platitudes. When employee recognition us used as part of a critique, it devalues the praise you give in other circumstances. If employee recognition is a meaningful part of your corporate culture, your team will be secure enough to receive direct communications without feeling insulted. Chartwell Agency can help you build a praise and recognition framework that keep your employees feeling valued, motivated, and appreciated. We offer guidance and training on a host of topics, including employee recognition. Check out some of the most popular sessions we offer or share with us a topic you want to explore, and we’ll work to build a custom session just for you!