A few years ago, I had a team member called Melissa. She was excellent at her job as a senior programme manager and had many successes. But unlike other members of my team, public recognition was not her bag.
Normally after a big success, other members of my team would step forward for a round of applause from my whole floor in our Monday Town Hall meeting.
Melissa, on the other hand, hated the attention and embarrassment. It really didn’t feel like a reward to her.
For context, she was a bit of a health nut. She walked, she swam several times a week, and she ate well. But her weakness was wine gums. Although she wouldn’t treat herself to them very often.
So, when she achieved a key programme milestone, I would leave a bag of wine gums on her desk first thing the following day.
No applause. No public recognition. No speeches. And it meant the world.
It cost me a quid and short diversion via the newsagent on my way into work.
Thanking your team pays
We all know it’s good to recognise people for what they do. In most cases it doesn’t take a lot – a quick call to say, ‘well done’ a quick email to say, ‘thanks for the advice’ or ‘thanks for getting that report out so quickly’.
Recognition isn’t just the right thing to do. It drives engagement. Which drives productivity. Which drives business performance. Fact.
According to the most recent research by Gallup, the global employee engagement experts:
“Only 15% of employees worldwide are engaged at work. These employees willingly go the extra mile...
They are the people who will drive innovation and move your business forward.
Leaders should know their people - who they are, not just what they do.
Every interaction with an employee has the potential to influence engagement and inspire them...”
Recognising others also feels good for you, so frankly that’s another good reason to do it.
But you may not be doing it as well as you could. Or in a timely way.
Make the 'thank you' count
Ask yourself - what ‘thank you’ have you had at work that felt really special?
I’m guessing it wasn’t the most expensive one.
I bet it was personal. Unique to you. And showed they knew you.
You can create that amazing experience for somebody else.
So, who’s been a real star recently? Who’s really stepped up?
Think about interests that person has. Do they cycle, do they have a favourite author, or do they have a serious coffee habit?
Try to understand what preferences and needs they have. Defaulting to a bottle of wine won’t work if they don’t drink. Ditto with cake for a diabetic – that actually happened to a colleague of mine!
Notice how they behave. Do they seem to enjoy attention e.g. public speaking or making their voice heard in a group? Or do they prefer being in the background?
Then decide how to thank them in a way they will really appreciate. If they’re working remotely, you can get a gift delivered. It’s guaranteed to make their day - and I bet it makes yours too.