Recognizing people for the work they do is part of building a strong, healthy workplace. But not all recognition is created equal. Sometimes, even with the best of intentions, recognition can fall flat. When that happens, no one feels the benefit and people might start to think recognition is (gasp!) boring or lacks value.
Don’t worry ... writing the perfect strategic recognition message is easy! It only involves three steps. And once you get into the habit of doing it, you won’t think twice the next time you go to acknowledge someone for doing a good job.
Step 1: Tell the action
It sounds simple because it is. What specific actions did the person do? Tell the story in a couple of sentences. It doesn’t need to be a novel, just enough information so people who may not work with that individual every day can understand what happened. Telling the action ensures that others on your team will be more informed of ways to deliver results and live the values.
Helpful tip: Think about telling the story in a way that a new employee can clearly understand what they would do in a similar situation.
Step 2: Connect to an area of focus or company value
Employee recognition is a great opportunity to explain how specific actions support your company’s values, goals, mission or purpose. This helps people on your team make the connection between what they do on a daily basis and the big picture of your company's priorities and objectives.
Helpful tip: Use values-based eCards to make this step easy!
Step 3: Explain the impact
This step is about explaining result (or possible results!) of the action. Why was it important and how did it affect your team, your customers or the company as a whole? While the benefit of the action may seem obvious to you, it may not be to others – especially if they are not on the same team or in the same department or location. If you only report on what happened, recognitions may start to feel like a list of events that are easy to ignore or feel boring to read through.
Helpful tip: Think about what might have happened if the person DIDN’T do the action!
Before we wrap up, here’s an example from one of our team members demonstrating the RG value of Work Hard:
As you can see, Erin shares what Stacy did, how it supports our values and the impact it had on the team, and ultimately, the business.
For more ideas, check out Best Practice Guide: Recognition or VIDEO: Three Steps to Powerful Recognition (AVI) (2:12 minutes)
Use the Strategic recognition worksheet (U.S.) and Strategic recognition worksheet (UK) to practice or teach others how to write powerful recognition moments.
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