Dana Brownlee has a great article on Forbes titled Peer Recognition: An Employee Engagement Secret Weapon. It’s an excellent read.
Peer recognition is what we would call an intrinsic reward. For a great primer on intrinsic and extrinsic rewards, check out Fast Company’s article The Only Type Of Motivation That Leads To Success by Tom Rath. His argument is profound. Basically he’s saying that it’s more impactful to give intrinsic rewards than extrinsic rewards (think bonuses, money, etc.). Check out the beginning of Tom’s article:
Meaningful work is driven by intrinsic, rather than extrinsic, motivation.
Intrinsic motivation–or deep internal motivation–is much richer. For example, consider a teacher who is inspired by the growth of a student or a doctor who is driven by improving health. Intrinsic motivation stems from the meaningfulness of the work you do. You are driven by what you yearn to do even if there is no reward or compensation.
Extrinsic seems more powerful on paper. Do this thing and I’ll give you a $5k bonus. Do that thing and I’ll give you $50 by the end of the day. Extrinsic rewards have their place, and are not inherently bad. But think about the power of the last paragraph from Tom. When you are motivated by the growth of a student, or improving health of others. The power of intrinsic motivation comes from answering the question: WHY?
Is the WHY important? According to Simon Sinek, being able to answer WHY is core to a company’s or a person’s success. Check out his Ted talk on this here. I was onsite at a company recently and saw a poster that had Simon’s model, with WHY in the middle, and it was defined.
WHY you do what you do is at the core of your success, your happiness, your joy, and your motivation.
When you recognize an employee, as a manager, you reinforce your and their WHY. “Hey, you did a super job with that client. Thank you!” That is recognition. It can be in person, one-on-one, in a group, or in an email. “Dawn took care of a very sensitive matter and made sure our customer came first. Her goal was to delight the customer during a hard time, and the customer was very appreciative.” This kind of employee recognition could go in a newsletter, reinforcing to your team, your executives, even your customers and prospects that your WHY is to delight customers, to treat them with respect, and to help and serve them.
Proper recognition that is aligned with your WHY helps your employees know what their WHY is at work. They will take on your mission as their own.
Recognize for their alignment. What are your core values? Do you recognize anyone, whether they report to you or not, for demonstrating the organization’s core values?
That recognition, that intrinsic reward, could be more meaningful than an extrinsic reward. You should see that in your company culture, employee engagement, employee satisfaction, and employee performance. This results in longevity, lower turnover, better company branding, and other measurable things.
By the way, Snowfly Incentives specializes in both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. Ready to learn more?
Now, stop reading and go recognize someone.