9 responses you can use the next time some says, “I don’t recognize staff because I . . .”

More action, less excuses - handwriting on a napkin with a cup oChances are that if you are reading this article, you’re among the converted. Telling you that staff recognition is important is like preaching to the choir. You already get it!

But not everyone does. There are managers and supervisors who don’t believe. You likely know some of them. They can rattle off a list of reasons for not recognizing staff.

We (the “believers”) know that most of these reasons really aren’t valid, but what can we say to help them understand that their reasons for not recognizing staff are just “excuses, rationalizations and cop-outs” and help them understand why staff recognition is important?

Here are suggestions for what you might say in response to the nine reasons (while writing Thanks! GREAT Job! I discovered 22 of them) you are most likely to hear:

Excuse #1: Don’t know how – Recognition begins with two simple words: Thank you. Everything else you will learn about how to recognize staff is a refinement, just different ways to convey your message of appreciation. Discover new ways to recognize staff by checking out the “High-Value, Low-Cost Staff Recognition Tips” in every issue of Briefly Noted. Read Thanks! GREAT Job! Pick up a book by Bob Nelson or Chester Elton and Adrian Gosick. Google “staff recognition ideas.”

Excuse #2: Don’t have time – If you truly believe staff recognition is important, you will find the time, because staff recognition need not take much time: a pat on the back, a few words of praise delivered in-person or with a handwritten note. By recognizing staff, you may be actually saving yourself time. People who feel valued and appreciated are more engaged, and more engaged employees require less supervision. People are more likely to stay where they are appreciated, improving staff retention and reducing the time you expend to recruit, interview and train newcomers.

Excuse #3: Don’t need to thank people just for doing their job – We cheer athletes and performers just for doing their jobs, don’t we? We cheer them just for showing up for work (running onto the field or stepping onto the stage). And we cheer even louder when they do their jobs well. Why should it be different when staff members perform well and meet expectations?

Excuse #4: Don’t want to overdo it – It’s hard to imagine that happening. While people complain they aren’t recognized, no one ever complains about getting too much praise. The only caveat is that recognition will become meaningless when it isn’t deserved and the person doing the recognizing is only going through the motions. True recognition means the person providing the recognition understands what the recipient did and why it was important.

Excuse #5: Don’t want to miss someone – Hockey great Wayne Gretzky once said, “You miss 100 per cent of the shots you don’t take.” When you don’t recognize anyone, you won’t just miss someone, you will miss everyone deserving of recognition.

Excuse #6: Don’t get any recognition myself—never have—don’t need it – This isn’t about you, it’s about the people with whom you work, who deserve and want to be recognized. But then, maybe it is about you. What if you had been recognized regularly? How would you have felt? What difference would that have made?

Excuse #7: Don’t think it’s my job to recognize people – If not yours, whose? What the boss thinks is important to staff members. They want to know the boss understands what they do and knows when they have done it well. They want to feel appreciated for their contributions and achievements by the person whose opinion matters most.

Excuse #8: Don’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable by singling them out for recognition – Good point! While some people enjoy being recognized publicly, others don’t. Learn the recognition preferences of the people with whom you work. Ask which they prefer—to be recognized publicly or in private? There are alternatives to public recognition: during a one-on-one meeting in your office, in a thank-you note, or in a message of appreciation written on a sticky note attached to their computer.

Excuse #9: Don’t have any money in the budget for recognition – Simple, frequent recognition always trumps expensive, but infrequent recognition. There are hundreds of ways to recognize staff which recipients will value, but which cost little or nothing to use. The key is that recognition be inspired a Genuine sense of appreciation and that the message be strengthened by being Relevant, Explicit, Appropriate and Timely—in other words, GREAT staff recognition.

Suggested Action: Who do you know who appears hesitant to recognize staff? Schedule a meeting to discuss this reluctance to recognize. Ask why. Help this person understand why the reasons for not recognizing staff are invalid.

4 thoughts on “9 responses you can use the next time some says, “I don’t recognize staff because I . . .”

  1. Pingback: You asked about providing too much recognition |

  2. Pingback: You asked: About leaving someone out when recognizing staff |

  3. Pingback: Researchers discover that the impact of thank-you notes is greater than writers imagine |

  4. Pingback: “No recognition, please!” said no one, ever |

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