The Harvard Business Review recently hosted a chat (#HBRchat) on the importance of appreciation at work. From @RedBaronUSA , we can see exactly how important recognition and appreciation is: “Bottom line: If your Org does NOT have custom employee recognition strategies in place, your people may soon be employed elsewhere”.
The workplace is changing:
“People don’t want to work for just a paycheck. They want to know that what they do matters” (@RonAlvesteffer).
I like $ but prefer personal praise in front of my own group, bigger motivator (@wolfpac_five).
Positive recognition makes a difference:
By positively recognizing employees they worked harder and achieved greater results.
We achieved more together due to acknowledgement of efforts.
Confidence boost that increases productivity.
When people appreciate my work, I feel harder just so I won’t let them down.
There are many perspectives one can take when thinking of an answer to this. The organizational perspective, the business unit perspective, or the management perspective. But the perspective most important to this question is the perspective of the recipient.
Most employees want more feedback. Even negative feedback is desired. Employees seek the opportunity to grow and develop, and consistently refer to feedback as central mechanism to development. However feedback is ranked very low as a managerial competency.
Buckingham & Coffman wrote in “First, break all the rules”(1999) that the second most common reason for staying or leaving a company was, “my supervisor cares about me and gives me regular feedback”.
In other studies, 75% of employees stayed with their current company because they were satisfied with performance evaluation and feedback. According to McKinsey’s War for Talent (2000), the best effort for building and retaining top talent includes, “ giving people stretch jobs, informal feedback, coaching, and mentoring”. Read More
You are a manager that realizes that performance appraisals don’t accomplish much. You know that the way to a high performing team is to frequently engage your employees. You know that employees really seek and appreciate your approach of positively reinforcing successes and offering constructive feedback on mistakes/challenges. You “get it”.
Just like losing weight doesn’t happen by eating healthy one month a year, performance doesn’t change by evaluating it once a year. Performance change happens with smaller more frequent interactions; feedback.
The feedback environment is vital in determining how employees give and receive feedback and whether they accept or reject feedback. Therefore a better understanding of the feedback environment is crucial to gain more insight into how feedback works and how to improve the environment.
Previous studies show that employees in a favorable feedback environment were more motivated to use feedback, more satisfied with the provided feedback, and sought feedback more frequently. This means that if leaders can create a feedback environment, employees will seek feedback AND incorporate it. The purpose of feedback is to improve something. The something might be a specific task or a larger project, or even a personal characteristic. In short, if you want to embody the value of continuous improvement, feedback is demonstrating continuous improvement.
When a feedback environment is established, the impact of the feedback is greater. More support is offered and more corrective action is taken.
In Martin Seligman’s book, Authentic Happiness, he suggests to readers to write in a gratitude journal. At the end of every day write down whatever you are grateful for. It might be that first cup of coffee in the morning, a compliment someone sent your way, or a close friend reaching out to you. The purpose is to raise your consciousness regarding the small things that bring you joy everyday.
Often times we get bogged down into the muck of meetings, proposals, train/work/children’s schedules and end up running right past the flowers that we are told to stop and smell. By specifically looking for, and subsequently recognizing the things in our life that bring us morsels of joy, we begin to appreciate more and more things in life.
A Harvard Business Review blog post highlights the role that appreciation has in the workplace. Our work lives focus on project plans, deliverables, and procedures, which divert our attention from the flowerbed of our workplaces.
To stop and smell the flowers at work, try a little appreciation. However, the power of appreciation at work is different than the gratitude journal. For appreciation to work its wonders, it has to be shared with others. Read More
The concept of feedback environment has been around for a while and is gaining more attention as an alternative or a supplement to the annual performance review. Research confirms what many suspect; the performance review simply isn’t working. The intentions behind the performance review are to give feedback on performance, set goals for the future, and create an opportunity for communication just to name a few. The realization is that the performance review isn’t impacting motivation, engagement, or performance, and something is needed to fill these gaps. A feedback environment offers some promising solutions.
What do we need to know about an environment of feedback?
The Source: credibility, expertise, and trustworthiness
There are an increasing number of practitioners and researchers calling out the annual performance review for its shortcomings. One recommendation that has been around for a long time is to give continuous, regular, and timely feedback. It has been commonly said that employees should know what to expect upon entering the performance review. Should.
The performance review was intended to be a platform, a system, or a structure to let employees hear objective feedback about how they were doing at their job or how well they were performing in their role. Historically, the speed of work was slower and this wasn’t an obvious problem. Once a year or semi-annual feedback was not such a glaring issue. But now the performance review is no longer keeping up with the real world of work.
We are now more than a decade into the Information Age and our way of life has changed entirely. In 1995, AOL cd’s were delivered weekly and we were ecstatic if we were able to dial up to the World Wide Web and logon to our electronic mail. Waterfalls and Creep by TLC were among the top three songs of 1995. Fast forward to now. Now if we don’t have connection on our smart phone, it’s annoying and irritating waiting for a Google search or a map to render. Read More
Previously, a colleague shared her experiences about evaluations and feedback processes at her company. Her company made a strategic decision from the beginning that regular feedback would be ingrained in the culture. Feedback processes were implemented and the frequent feedback offerings were incorporated into the appraisal process. It is quite an amazing system they have and you can read all about it here.
One concept used at the organization was the notion of a ‘purple tail’.
What is a purple tail and how would someone know if they had a purple tail? Read More
When you perform at your best, what is most likely to make you want to do it again?
McKinsey conducted a study in 2009 on financial and nonfinancial incentives; specifically looking at how effective they are and how frequently those incentives were used. Which were most/least effective? Which were most frequently used?
Here is the source article if you would like to go the article. I’ve taken the data presented in the article and created some visuals to help understand the impact of financial incentives and nonfinancial incentives.
This first graph is a scatterplot showing where each incentive is scored regarding its effectiveness (Horizontal axis) and how frequently it is used (Vertical Axis).
Here are the real data from the McKinsey study: Read More
When recognition takes place it demonstrates appreciation for the effort that someone else put into a project or task. True recognition says, “I can tell you invested mental energy into this and I appreciate that”. Less than true recognition is empty lip service.
Here is a distinction between true recognition and lip service:
True Recognition: “You asked the client specific questions that helped us determine the requirements for their project. As a result, we delivered a high quality service to them and we have a happy customer.”
Non-specific recognition: “Good job on the project. The customer is happy.” Read More