“Why should I praise my people for doing a good job when I pay them $250k a year?”
This is an actual question I’ve been asked by a CEO.
“Surely he’s not serious?” I said to myself… but he was.
I almost didn’t know how to answer the question because the thought of not praising people when they did a good job was a foreign concept to me.
“Well” I said, taking a breath, trying not to sound passive aggressive, “Employees who don’t feel adequately recognised are twice as likely to say they will leave their company in the next year.”
Here’s how the rest of the conversation went (no, I’m not making this up, yes, I wish I was).
Him: “Because they don’t get a pat on the back for doing what they’re paid for?!”
Him: “Well, how often do I need to do it”
Me: “At least once every 7-days”
Him: “Can I just send out a group email?”
Me: “No, it needs to be individual recognition.”
Me: “Yep. Also, you can never give too much recognition if it’s honest, deserved, and based on outcomes that are measurable”
Him: “So I need to praise people so they don’t leave?”
Me: “The benefit in a shift in recognition sees 6.5% greater productivity and 2% higher customer engagement”.
Him: (yep, you guessed it) “Seriously?”
Me: “How would you feel if you worked really hard on something and you sent it to the board then heard nothing back?”
Him: “… I guess I’d be a bit disappointed”
Me: “And what if it happened again the following week?”
Him: “Disappointed again”
Me: “Would it make you think differently about your work if it kept happening?”
Him: “I guess I’d get a bit demotivated and probably not work as hard next time”
Me: “And you’re the CEO and have shares in the business”
Him: “… Crap”
Like I said, I wish I was making this up but this is an actual conversation I’ve had.
To his credit though, this CEO did start looking for opportunities to give praise and recognition.
A few weeks after this chat we were in a coaching session and mid conversation he said “Oh!” and frantically scribbled himself a note.
When I asked him what he thought of he said, “I just remembered I have to let one of the team know about this great feedback I got from a client.”
Because of its power, ridiculously low cost and rarity, giving praise and recognition is one of the greatest lost opportunities in the business world today.
Effective managers understand the importance of praise and recognition, and know how to tailor it to the individuals on their team.
Hey You, great job getting to the end of this article! (see, praise and recognition is easy)
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