(Editor’s Note: Please welcome one of Team TalentCulture’s new editorial interns, Ana Mijailovic. She’s an accomplished university student with mad writing skills, and we’re thrilled to add her perspective on the “world of work.”)
After a week focused on recognition in the workplace — what have I learned? It’s clear that today’s workforce is increasingly disengaged, and lack of recognition is a primary culprit.
So, how can we turn that around? On one hand, a simple “thank you” is free and easy to share, anytime or in any situation. On the other hand, it’s not so free or easy for organizations to practice recognition consistently and effectively.
Case In Point
My first job was at a hospital as an office assistant. At first, I loved working there. I was excited to start making my own money, to cash my own paychecks. The tasks were fairly simple — filing patient charts, filling out medical billing sheets, making copies, everything you would expect from an administrative assistant. The repetition was actually relaxing at first, and my boss constantly acknowledged my speed and work ethic. However, after after several years, my productivity slipped. I met expectations, but without the original energy and speed.
A Problem of Motivation
What’s my point? Even when recognition “looks right” on the outside, it doesn’t necessarily empower employees. Although I loved my boss, my work environment and my colleagues, I was bored. Why? To quote the movie “Office Space,” it was “a problem of motivation.”
Motivation is largely intrinsic. In that situation, no salary increase or external encouragement could motivate me further. What I needed was a challenge. I had mastered the required skills. I had proved my competence. I was ready to reach for the next level, but that option wasn’t made available.
This isn’t uncommon. Managers are often so focused on immediate goals, they forget that many employees want to grow and develop. Offering them a new challenge is a form of empowerment. It demonstrates trust. It demonstrates good faith in the future. It demonstrates commitment to employee success. For those of us who value growth, it’s a promise that helps us keep striving to reach our full potential.
Key Takeaway: Be Mindful and Meaningful
The larger lesson is this: Every individual is motivated by something. For recognition that really matters, managers should consider what each employee values most, and tailor recognition accordingly.
But don’t just take my word for it. Check the ideas below from this week’s guests and #TChat events. There’s inspiration and advice for employers and employees, alike!
#TChat Week in Review
Setting the Stage: “Recognition Done Right: 9 Points of Light.” One of our expert guests, Stan Phelps, framed the week’s topic with real-world recognition examples from his new book, “What’s Your Green Goldfish – Beyond Dollars: 15 Ways to Drive Engagement and Reinforce Culture.”
#TChat Preview: Our community manager, Tim McDonald, served up “sneak peek” video interviews with Stan and our other guest, S. Max Brown, Principal of Leadership Directives at Rideau Recognition Management Institute. See what they think matters most about recognition now in “The Business Wisdom of Recognition: #TChat Preview.”
Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro examined startling workforce statistics and suggested remedies in her Forbes column, “Employee Engagement is Every Leader’s Imperative.”
Related Post: Achievers CEO, Razor Suleman, brought a unique twist to our blog by bridging two back-to-back topics in his post, “Workspace Design: Form, Function and Positive Feedback.”
#TChat Radio: Stan and Max joined our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman for a 30-minute deep dive into issues and opportunities surrounding recognition and organizational culture, while #TChat-ters chimed in on the Twitter backchannel.
Related Post: Career management blogger, Ritika Trikha, offered different point-of-view, with advice for employees who aren’t getting the recognition they deserve, in “Where’s the Love? Recognition DIY.”
#TChat Twitter: The highlight of every week! With Stan and Max leading the way, hundreds of community members gathered around the #TChat feed for an open, thoughtful exchange about workplace recognition. The conversation was so popular that we trended on Twitter again. (It’s becoming a habit!) Were you along for the ride? If not (or if you want a refresh), see highlights in the slideshow below:
#TChat Twitter Highlights Slideshow: “The Business Wisdom of Recognition”
Closing Notes & What’s Ahead
SPECIAL THANKS: Again, thanks to Stan Phelps founder of 9 Inch Marketing, and S. Max Brown, Principal of Leadership Directives at Rideau Recognition Management Institute. We’re inspired by your insights and passion for the power of recognition!
NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about workforce recognition? We’re happy to share your thoughts. Just post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.
WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week — if you are fascinated by social business practices (who among us isn’t?), you won’t want to miss this! We’re exploring enterprise community management, with special guests, Maria Ogneva, Director of Product Marketing at Salesforce Chatter Communities, and Jeff Willinger, Director of Collaboration, Social Computing and Intranets at Rightpoint.
Until then, as always, the World of Work conversation continues each day. So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, or on our new LinkedIn discussion group. And feel free to explore other areas of our redesigned website. The lights are always on at TalentCulture, and your ideas and opinions are always welcome.
(Author Profile: Ana Mijailovic is a student at Boston University studying Economics and Business Administration. Her experiences in the classroom and in the workplace have taught her the importance of teamwork, collaboration and leadership in organizations. She is one of four bright, community-savvy interns who are contributing to the TalentCulture mission this summer.)
Photo Credit: Stock.xchng