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Recognition in The Real World
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Building Your Recognition Muscles – How to Keep Recognition on Track Throughout the Year

Posted By C.A. Short, Tuesday, January 10, 2017

It's that time of the year. Health clubs and gyms are busy with the onslaught of people who have decided the new year is when they will finally focus on fitness and health.

It happens year after year. Folks start out with enthusiasm, motivated to create a new reality for themselves, but over the course of the year that enthusiasm falls off - gradually for some, and quickly for others. The regular fitness buffs sometimes even avoid the gym for the first month or two of the year, until the resolution-based users begin to fade away once again.

Unfortunately, the same thing often happens with employee recognition.

When a new program kicks off, or an exciting, high-energy recognition-oriented event is held, the ensuing weeks are filled with a flurry of "thank you" and “you’re awesome!” notes. Managers give away points like candy, as well as little items of appreciation and a box of doughnuts on Friday. But before long, it’s less and less frequent, until few, if any, are participating anymore. So, just like in the gym, we begin to build our muscles but that progress goes out the window and we become flabby once again.

So, how do we build our recognition muscles, and how do we keep it constant, vibrant and top-of-mind throughout the year?  Just like in fitness, it’s important that recognition is regular and frequent with a lifetime of benefit.

Here are just a few tips for maintaining top recognition fitness:

  1. Again, make it frequent – For it to be truly effective, recognize employees on a regular basis. It’s been proven in a number of studies that the best response comes from receiving some simple form of recognition every seven days.
  2. Schedule it! – We all get busy, but don’t let recognition fall through the cracks. Whatever program or platform you use for scheduling, why not schedule days and times on your calendar for recognizing your team?
  3. Don’t Wait! – There’s no time like the present. Studies have shown that on-the-spot recognition is highly effective.
  4. Be unambiguous! – What is the specific action or behavior you are rewarding? Don’t just say you are rewarding someone for being productive. What was the exact thing the employee did to contribute to the success of a project or goal of the team?
  5. Make it heartfelt – When rewarding or recognizing someone, let them know how much it meant to you and how it helped you or the team and tell them immediately. This will let them know your appreciation is genuine.

Most of all, if you stay motivated about recognizing your team throughout the year, you will build a healthy recognition regimen, and in turn, keep your team motivated and strong. 

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