How to Make a Habit of Recognition

RPI is at the forefront of recognition practices. RPI’s 7 Best Practices were developed based on a wealth of knowledge, research and experiences to educate about how to create a successful recognition program. Standard 1 is recognition strategy and Standard 2 is management responsibility. Both standards are crucial in developing a program to help your employees become more engaged. Read below to find out how you can make a habit of recognition.


According to Psychology Today, habit formation “is the process by which new behaviors become automatic.” This can be good or bad. Things like smoking, drinking or eating too much junk food in the middle of the night can be habits you want to break, but good habits are what you want to build.


Making a habit of recognizing your employees will build a positive culture and foster engagement. Forbes and Non-Desk Matters offer some tips on how you can achieve this with your team.


1)      Acknowledge good things when you see them
Make a habit of vocalizing your appreciation for nearly everything. If you like what you see, make sure that whoever is involved is aware. This not only motivates employees and makes them feel appreciated, but also reinforces good behaviors and company values.

·         Encourage others to do this as well. Peer-to-peer recognition helps bond your team and foster a positive work culture.

2)      Set daily goals
Setting goals is key to any outcome you want to achieve, but make sure you can handle them every day. This will look different for every workplace. For example, if you are a particularly busy manager, you could make it a goal to simply tell three employees a day why you appreciate them. If you have employees who often work at home, make it a goal to send out one card a week to an employee’s home.

·         Set aside time every day to focus on recognition. Even if it is 5 minutes of walking around the office and saying good morning to your employees.

3)      Take one employee out to coffee every week
This is a casual, relaxing way to recognize an employee. Run out for half an hour for a fun mid-day break. You will get to know that employee better and give them a chance to talk to you in a more casual setting.

4)      Make it clear that you are open to feedback
It can be intimidating for employees to tell a manager what they think. Make it clear you are open to your employees’ thoughts and feedback. Ask them what they think or how they would change the way things operate.

·         Find creative ways to listen to your employees. Have “office hours” where your door is open to anyone who wants to chat.

5)      Get organized
Keep a list of who you have recognized recently and/or a calendar of employees’ birthdays, anniversaries, etc., so that you stay on top of your recognition strategy.


Remember, like anything, the more you practice, the better you get!


Learn more about RPI’s 7 Best Practices.

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