We all want our employees to work harder so it’s a no-brainer. And leaders need to be thinking about recognizing their people. And while it’s great for leaders to do it, what’s most important is that they’re setting an example for everyone to follow.
And I don’t just mean for leaders to tell other leaders or managers to do it. All employees need to recognize and appreciate each other. People who are recognized know the value in it and will then pass that along to other employees.
Josh Bersin said, “Research clearly shows that top-down recognition is not what makes companies thrive today — it’s recognition by your peers, the people you work with every day.”
The truth of the matter is that it feels good to appreciate and recognize others for a job well done. So saying kind things to coworkers about great work or recognizing them helps both parties. The people being recognized know their behaviors or actions warrant recognition, and it makes them want to do it again — but even better next time.
And when everyone is on board and focusing on recognizing each other, it becomes a habit. And it becomes part of the organizational culture. As a leader, if you want to promote employee recognition as a part of the culture, you need to do the following three things:
1. Recognize others often. Your people notice what you do. If you’re telling employees to recognize each other, you’d better be doing it yourself. Practice what you preach. Start recognizing those around you and do it often! (Remember: Most employees want some type of recognition every seven days!)
2. Be sincere in your recognition. People can spot it a mile away when you’re not sincere in your praise. Be sure to make sure you’re recognizing something specific and that you truly value what they’re offering if you want it to be most effective. Again, sincere recognition from leaders translates into sincere recognition among coworkers.
3. Find a way to make coworker recognition easier. Some companies have actually set up systems that make it super easy for coworkers to recognize each other. For example, Zappos has provided special parking spaces or bonuses that employees can nominate their peers to receive. And, of course, recognize those who are recognizing each other! It will send the right message to all of your employees.
If you want to make appreciating each other and recognition part of your culture, you can. Try these three things and then get out of the way. Watch as your employees appreciate each other for helping out or just for doing great work — and then reward that behavior. It will ripple through your company.
In fact, it will become a habit from the repetition of doing it over and over. Before you know it, your culture will incorporate it, then employees and leaders will just do it out of habit.