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Recognizing Great Work: Good for Business, Good For Your Bottom Line

Today’s post is from guest blogger Amanda Andrade.

Amanda Andrade, SPHR, CCP, GRP  is the Chief People Officer for Veterans United Home Loans – Fortune magazine’s 21st best medium workplace and one the fastest growing companies in the United States according to INC magazine. Amanda has led human resource organizations in both public and private sectors, serving employees in diverse work settings, focusing on environment and behavior in the workplace. Connect with Amanda on Google+.

Each year, millions of employees around the country produce high quality work. Sadly many of them are never recognized or thanked for their valiant efforts. The lack of Thank Youacknowledgment for a job well done leaves many workers feeling disenfranchised. They become disgruntled with their companies and their jobs, leading to lowered motivation, loyalty, and productivity. So what’s an employer to do? It’s simple. Find the time to say, “Thank you.”

Letting your employees know that you value their presence and work effort costs nothing, but can yield great results. A  few minutes out of your workday can make a lasting positive impression on someone else’s. The key to a quality thank you is personalization. Thank your employees  by name, and be specific about what you’re recognizing them for. Don’t just say, “Great job.” Say, “Great job handling that difficult customer service call.” By recognizing a specific action you show that you are paying attention to the job they do and you are reinforcing the type of effort you value.

Saying thank you doesn’t have to be an expensive proposition. There are lots of low to no-cost ways to recognize great effort and create a sense of satisfaction. Write an email, send a hand written note, or consider a public forum where employees can “shout out” to one another for a job well done. An example of employee recognition at Veterans United is that we have “VIPs,” which means Values In Practice. Any employee can identify somebody that goes above and beyond and shows absolute commitment to our company values. We post the VIP’s on our blog for everyone to see and celebrate.

We also have activities in various departments where people get to say thanks. One group gets together every Monday morning. We open the floor for people to share what they are working on, it’s an opportunity for others to call out the positives they saw in their co-workers the week before, and it ends with the transferring of the coveted “Award”, a martial arts trophy that most likely got donated from a box in someone’s basement. The key here is that although the trophy is kind of silly, the message is authentic. The trophy holder from the week before presents the trophy to the person of their choice with a story to go along with it. The point is, we ask people to focus on the good works of those around them and be ready to share it when the time is right. It doesn’t cost money to make this happen it just takes time and attention. Remember, we all focus on what gets measured, it’s human nature. If we measure the good work of others by identifying it and talking about it, we create a culture that reinforces the great efforts we want to sustain as an organization. And, we have fun doing it.

Think about your company culture and what your employees would respond the best to. Would they appreciate something like VIP or small team “shout outs”, or would they be better suited to something else? Do they prefer recognition only when they’ve gone above and beyond, or do they respond better to regular acknowledgment and thanks?

Whichever methods you choose, taking the time to celebrate success in your company will create a positive work environment, foster productivity, loyalty, and happier employees. Encouraging environments manifest positive results, including lower turnover rates, increased efficiency, increased engagement and involvement among coworkers, and higher employee satisfaction. So who are you going to say thank you to first?

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