How to Retain Talent by Using the Power of Recognition

Recognition. Appreciating the efforts and contributions of everyone on your team. Praising good work.

In some work environments, these actions are considered fluff. Soft. Nice to have.

But in today’s business environment, recognition is absolutely essential for retaining your talent. And it’s one of the most effective things you can do to spur your team’s productivity.

What do we mean by recognition?

Recognition is some form of celebrating an employee’s contributions on behalf of your family business.

Family businesses can recognize their team members for many different things – birthdays and work anniversaries, achieving and/or exceeding goals, coming up with new ideas, going above and beyond expectations for their roles, doing the critical behind-the-scenes work to support the team, taking initiative, and so much more.

The important thing about recognition is to make it personal and meaningful. Recognition is a genuine and specific acknowledgement of “I see you. When you did this, I was really impressed.”

Who is recognition for?

Recognition is for everyone – from your CEO to your support staff, recognition matters.

And it should be given equitably. Sometimes it’s easy to recognize your superstars and harder to praise the quieter or more “invisible” members of your team who often are holding everything together and making it possible for your superstars to shine.

In fact, a recent survey from Great Place to Work showed that, when employees feel that everyone has an equal chance of being recognized for their efforts, they are more than twice as likely to go above and beyond their typical job duties.

Why is recognition so important?

I sometimes hear people say that someone is “only here for the paycheck.”

That’s not a description of their attitude, it’s simply their reality. People work for money so that they can live.

Recognition allows you to offer your team something more meaningful than just a paycheck.

The Great Resignation was just the beginning of fundamental shifts in the way we work. One important change centers on appreciation and praise for employees’ contribution to your family business’ success.

Recent Gallup and WorkHuman research has shown that among employees at all levels who strongly agree that recognition is an important part of their culture, seven in 10 also strongly agree that they feel connected to their organization’s culture.

That means that they’re much more likely to remain loyal to your organization, even if other businesses try to recruit them away.

When recognition rewards what your mission and values state, it spotlights the behaviors that best exemplify your family business culture and motivates employees to model those behaviors.

How to recognize your team in meaningful ways

Want to get better at recognizing your team? Start here:

  • Make it specific – “Keep up the great work!” or “You’re doing a super job!” might sound nice but isn’t helpful. Team members need to hear specifically how their contributions fuel business success. Take the time to notice what your team members are doing that is positive and helpful, and then let them know you noticed. Don’t be surprised when they start looking for ways to do more of what you noticed!
  • Make it personal – Appreciate team members in the ways that are most meaningful for them. Some employees like to be praised at an all-staff meeting, while others might prefer a genuine “thank-you” from the CEO, delivered quietly in their office. How do you know what motivates your team? Ask them. Many companies now ask for this information as part of standard onboarding procedures, so that supervisors know from Day One how best to show their appreciation.
  • Make it inclusive – Praise and recognition shouldn’t only flow from the top. Peer recognition can be a powerful and positive force in your business. Providing ways for peers to recognize one another not only increases opportunities for team members to receive praise, but it also helps ensure that your team members are actually living out your company culture – and encouraging each other as they do so.

If you’d like to explore this topic further, we’d love to talk with you about how to start or augment an employee recognition program for your family business. Reach out today to schedule a consultation call.

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