Archive for the 'supervision' Category

Hate Micromanaging? Try Employee Recognition!

A manager recently wrote:

“I am usually reminded that I haven’t been offering enough recognition  when an employee who especially craves recognition seeks me out on matters he generally sees to for himself.”

 I am often asked, “How much recognition is enough?” While there is no definitive answer, this manager has found a gauge that works for her. When this employee shows up in her office it means the team needs an infusion.

Why does employee self-initiative act as such a great indicator? Because employee recognition reduces the need for micro-managing. With enough recognition, people are confident and motivated. They know what you want, and they want to give it to you.

So many managers complain that people won’t think for themselves. These tend to be the same managers who think that recognition is a waste of their time. They believe they should focus on what is wrong in order to help people get better.

The manager who wrote this note knows better. She has experienced the direct correlation between self-initiative and recognition. When she sees a drop in that initiative she knows it is time spread a little appreciation around.

Copyright 2009 Cindy Ventrice

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Summer Recognition Idea

Your team has been working hard to meet a deadline. How do you celebrate success?

A favorite form of employee recognition, across the generational divide, is time off. Time off is even more valued during the summer months. So here are a few ideas:

  • Host a Friday lunchtime BBQ and then give your team the afternoon off. Do this twice if you need to keep some people working.
  • Give out “Summer Escape” cards, for 1-, 2-, or 4-hour increments. It’s okay to set a limit for how many can be used at any one time.
  • One to one, tell a star performer, that s/he needs to take an extra long lunch on you. Provide a gift card as well.
  • Set a high achiever up with a “work from home day” with a project that can be completed in 4-6 hours. Expect results rather than a time accounting.
  • Give a full day off for people to volunteer for their favorite community projects.

You probably don’t have authority to do all of these, but you can probably offer at least one. In doing so you will increase team loyalty and productivity over the long-term.

 Copyright 2008 Cindy Ventrice

A Case of Pop on a Hot Day

When researching Make Their Day, I asked employees who they most wanted recognition from. One employee said,

“My vote is still with the line supervisor or manager who brings in a case of pop at break time on a hot day…that’s a tough act for any organization to beat.”

This employee is offering an example of a supervisor who respects his team. Nothing will engage your team more effectively than treating them with respect. These things all demonstrate respect:

  • Listen well.
  • Ask for team members’ opinions.
  • Learn what they want/need.
  • Consider all reasonable requests.
  • Trust them.

What can you do today to demonstrate your respect for your team?

Copyright 2007 Cindy Ventrice

Tuning In To Employee Preferences

Eight ballIn a survey conducted earlier this year, I looked at what makes recognition meaningful. There are four elements to recognition: Praise, Opportunity, Respect, and Thanks. Since the publication of Make Their Day! Employee Recognition That Works, I have stated that Respect is the element that must always be present and the others can be mixed and matched in various combinations. I had also observed that Opportunity seemed to carry more weight with employees that did Praise or Thanks (appreciation).

To determine employee priorities when it comes to the more subtle aspects of recognition I asked respondents about the importance of various behaviors that demonstrate to employees that they are valued.

Test yourself.
Rank the following in order of employee priority:
  Praise for achievements    
  Regular feedback from my manager/supervisor  
  Knowing my manager/supervisor listens to me. 
  Involvement in the decision-making process  
  Being able to take on new challenges  
  Having development opportunities   

Survey respondents listed a manager who listens as most important, followed by development opportunities, involvement in decision-making, new challenges, feedback, and in last place, praise.

As you can see in the table below, the gap in preferences was small (all were shown to be important). Still the results do underscore that showing employees that they are valued goes far beyond praise and rewards:

How important are the following to you (5 being most important and 1 being least)?
  Praise for achievements     3.82
  Regular feedback from my manager/supervisor   4.09
  Knowing my manager/supervisor listens to me.  4.42
  Involvement in the decision-making process   4.29
  Being able to take on new challenges   4.23
  Having development opportunities    4.32

The survey demonstrates that employees look beyond praise when deciding how recognized they feel, They consider all the elements of recognition (Praise, Opportunity, Respect, Thanks) with respect and opportunity being the most critical.

Copyright Cindy Ventrice 2007


My name is Cindy Ventrice. I am the author of the best-selling book Make Their Day! Employee Recognition That Works and the companion guide Recognition Strategies That Work.

My work has been quoted in The New York Times, Alaska Airlines Magazine, Workforce Magazine, and Tim Sanders' book The Likeability Factor.


Visit my website www.maketheirday.com today!


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