The Importance of Recognition in the Workplace
March 30, 2017 | by David Moncur
In the fast-paced world of business, people are constantly focused on deliverables, deadlines and results. But often, we forget to slow down and recognize each other for the good work we do.
Recognition means a lot to people, it makes them feel like they are valued and have an important purpose. Recognition can even make or break job satisfaction. As a business leader, it’s especially important for me to recognize my employees for their accomplishments—it keeps them happy and motivated. And as a business owner, it’s also my job to recognize my clients.
The question is: How do we connect with and recognize each other in a meaningful way?
Let me start by telling you a story about an old coffee mug…
When I was 19, I started my own screen-printing business. It was the summer after my freshman year of college and I had set up shop in my dad’s garage for about 6-8 months, making t-shirts and yard signs. After I started seeing a profit, I invested in a warehouse space to expand my business and accommodate a larger volume of orders.
I had a good year, it was an exciting time—this was my first taste of entrepreneurship, and it felt empowering. I realized I was good at this, and that realization arrived one day in a small brown box. It was a gift from one of my biggest suppliers at the time, Broder Brothers.
What was inside was a Broder Brothers coffee mug with a nice card wishing me Happy Holidays and expressing how much they appreciated my business. In hindsight, it was a rather simple thing, but to me, this branded coffee mug was a great surprise and a powerful sentiment. I thought: this is a company that must work with many clients—but I was recognized, I mattered, I was someone they valued enough to make a mug, write a card and send it to me.
The coffee mug was like a trophy; a symbol that I had started something and became someone. This was my first real wave of success.
I must’ve drank out of that old coffee mug hundreds of times, and although the Broder Brothers logo on it has become so worn it’s barely recognizable, I still keep it on my desk.
It reminds me of where I was, and how far I’ve come.
How I Connect With and Recognize Others
At Moncur, I practice employee recognition in multiple ways to celebrate accomplishments, milestones and special occasions.
Every week I send out an email to my team called “3 Things You Need to Know This Week” where I outline important announcements and reminders. This is a place where I often give mention to team members who recently completed a new website or big client project.
I also recognize work anniversaries for each employee’s first, fifth and tenth year at Moncur with a gift and a handwritten card. I find the first year at a new company is almost always the hardest to get through. That’s why I especially enjoy hand picking artistic, high-end pens for each employee’s first year gift, based on their unique personality. I also communicate anniversaries to the entire team in “3 Things.”
Through my agency’s culture program, we celebrate birthdays with balloons, decorations and a card signed by everyone in the office. We also throw wedding and baby showers with big team lunches and a gift from the agency. And if a team member is dealing with a tough personal situation, we always let them know they are in our thoughts and we are here for support.
Another thing Moncur does for recognition is “Peggy.” Peggy is the name of a little wooden “trophy” that gets passed from team member to team member every two weeks and allows employees to recognize each other for the amazing work and positive characteristics they bring to our team. Plus, they get to use my personal parking spot for two weeks! (See what I told Fit Small Business about Peggy and check out her Instagram adventures.)
Additionally, I also make sure to reach out to my clients with custom branded Moncur swag, personal notes and a special something around the holiday season—hoping to make them feel similar to how Broder Brothers made me feel all those years ago.
I know that there are lots of ways to connect with and recognize someone in the workplace—it can be something as big an event or as small as a compliment. My advice to you is to remember to make recognition a priority. At the end of the day, I think we all just want to be seen and heard and know that we make a difference.