Oscar-worthy employee recognition (no red carpet needed)

by Saba Software | Posted | Engagement

Oscar-worthy employee recognition (no red carpet needed)

Cue the glitz and glamor! On Sunday night, Hollywood recognizes the best in film achievement from the past year, from actors to writers, films, music and technical achievements.

While most industries don't roll out the red carpet for their employees and broadcast their awards ceremony to millions of viewers, everyone does deserve some recognition for a job well done.

The benefits of rewards and recognition

Showing an employee your appreciation is more than just a nice thing to do: it has clear benefits. A survey by Career Builder found that 50% of respondents believed increased recognition would reduce voluntary turnover. Recognizing hard work also:

  • Shows employees their work is valued and appreciated
  • Helps build a supportive work environment
  • Boosts morale
  • Enhances loyalty
  • Keeps employees engaged
  • Increases employee motivation

Many organizations already have formal recognition policies in place. But day-to-day moments of appreciation are just as effective: a note about a job well done, or a shout-out during a meeting to acknowledge someone who went above and beyond.

The Oscars can teach managers a lot about informal recognition - no designer duds or golden figurines required.

Manager/peer appreciation: You like me! You really like me!

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is made up of movie professionals who vote on outstanding performances and technical achievements over the past year. It's a group of industry professionals acknowledging the work of their peers.

It's significant because recognition is more meaningful for employees when it comes from people who have direct insight into their achievements. As a manager, when you give feedback on a project, its carries more weight because you know the employee's strengths and weaknesses and know when they've expanded their skills to meet a challenge.

Managers also can lead by example when it comes to encouraging peer feedback. When you tell a colleague that you respect how they handled a difficult project, you're not only showing your appreciation for that colleague, but also demonstrating to your employees how to give peer feedback. Feedback from co-workers is just as important as from managers: Since 2013 WorldatWork has listed peer-to-peer recognition as one of its top five recognition programs.

Specific recognition: The best actor nominees are...

The Oscars have definitive categories - actors are nominated for specific roles on specific films. There are occasions when actors are nominated for a role but win based on past achievements as well (I'm looking at you, Leo), but this is usually an exception.

Like the Oscars, when you're recognizing a job well done, you need to specifically name the behavior or action that stood out. For example, instead of saying, "Great job," say "I really liked how you laid out your project report: it was easy to understand and clearly outlined your research." This way, the employee knows exactly what you liked and can apply that feedback to future projects.

Recognize behaviors, not just outcomes: It IS an honor to be nominated

Sure, everyone nominated for an Oscar wants to win, but it is nice to be acknowledged for great work, even if you don't take home the big prize.

So maybe your employee didn't achieve their sales goals. Recognizing their efforts to develop their skills is still important as it reinforces the idea that you're paying attention to them and appreciate their hard work.

This kind of acknowledgement is critical for retaining employees. A 2016 Gallup poll found that employees who do not feel adequately recognized are twice as likely to say they'll quit in the next year.

Everyone is eligible: Ruth and Emma take on Meryl

The beauty of the Oscars is that veteran actors like Meryl Streep and Isabelle Huppert are nominated for best actress alongside relative newcomers Ruth Negga and Emma Stone.

In the same way, it's important to acknowledge the work of everyone on your team. Maybe you have a veteran team member who consistently does great work. They deserve recognition and praise just as much as the rookie employee who's struggling to master new skills. You want to avoid any sense of favoritism and acknowledge the small wins as well as the large victories.

Share your success: I'd like to thank my co-stars...

It doesn't matter if it's an Academy Award for best actor or best cinematography, few people can claim all the credit for a job well done. Actors rely on everyone on set to create a great performance.

The same thing happens in the office. Especially in today's more team-oriented workplace, managers don't nail a project or boost sales all by themselves. So while you're basking in the glow of recognition from your superior, don't forget to acknowledge those who helped you get there, whether it was a colleague who gave you a pep talk when you hit a roadblock, or an employee who put in extra hours to help you finish a project. It not only helps with teambuilding, but also boosts morale and gives employees insight into how their work affects the success of your organization.

Recognition is more than a golden statuette

The important thing to remember when recognizing employee achievements is to be sincere. Employees know if you're saying something because you feel you have to - don't be that manager.

It doesn't take much to make an employee feel appreciated and valued for their contributions. You don't have to offer a big cash reward or employee bonus. It can be as simple as a team lunch to celebrate meeting a tight deadline, to a gift card for an employee's favorite coffee shop.

And above all, don't just recognize employees once a year (this is the one lesson you can't learn from the Oscars). Show your appreciation for a job well done as soon as you can, and ensure it's heartfelt.

Employee Performance Management: A Step-by-step Guide to Best Practices

Learn how to implement a successful employee performance management process that leads to improved employee and organizational performance.

Read now
Cover of the book
Cover of the book

Employee Performance Management: A Step-by-step Guide to Best Practices

Learn how to implement a successful employee performance management process that leads to improved employee and organizational performance.

Read now

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