By Kylie Green, Director of Consultancy
Each year, on the first Friday of March, companies around the world celebrate Employee Appreciation Day. It gets more attention in the U.S. and Canada than it does in Australia and part of me wishes that’s because we’ve done such amazing work here that all our local business leaders know employees should be appreciated and recognized every day of the year. But the truth is, it’s most likely because many of us are suffering from a bad case of discontent. Instead of taking responsibility for building people up, we either ignore, fear or resent the idea of it.
In most of the organisations I come to work with, managers struggle with recognizing employees. I get it — managers are busy. You’re under pressure to address people and operational issues; sometimes things that are outside the scope of what you were originally trained to do. You might feel a bit uncomfortable with the idea of recognizing employees on your employee recognition program or in other ways because it’s not something you’re familiar with, or something you personally look for yourself.
Instead of approaching it as an obligation, consider employee recognition as a tool that helps you communicate more clearly with your team members. Used well and often (instead of just once a year!), recognition can make your job as a leader easier. It can provide your employees timely and specific reminders of what “great” looks like in your business, and the type of behaviors that you and the company value. It can remind people of how their contribution is helping the company achieve its mission – something we all need to help us prioritize our work and maintain motivation when things get busy or challenging.
Some people wrongly think that employee recognition means putting their employees up on a pedestal, but it’s not that at all. It is simply communicating what is important and helping your people understand the contribution they are making and what you want to see more of; something that should be a priority for all leaders at all times of the year. I genuinely believe that with conscious practice, all people leaders can make recognition a part of how they lead every day.
Click here to learn some ways you can do this.