Studies show that employees perform at a higher level when praised for doing a great job, or going beyond the call of duty.
I don’t want to play closet psychologist, but we all know this to be true. When playing a sport in high school, we wanted to do well so that our coach would praise us in front of our peers, we would get recognition from our teachers, our parents would give us a pat on the back and a heartfelt “I’m proud of you.” Who wouldn’t want to be praised?
We can look to the work done by Abraham Maslow on the Hierarchy of Needs that employees have – one he pointed to was recognition from superiors/authority on a job well done.
As a high school girls basketball coach over the last decade, I’ve noticed that my teams perform at a much higher level when players are praised for doing things well instead of making mistakes. Just today this point got driven home again:
I asked one of my former players who had graduated from my team to a higher level team in our program She had gone from being a rock star on my team to the bottom of the totem pole on the higher level team. I asked her why she had become so quiet, reserved, cautious, and timid when playing on this new team.
Coach Barry, my new coach yells at me every time I make a mistake. I’m afraid of making a mistake. He scares me because he gets so angry. All he ever does is criticize what we do. I’ve never heard him tell me in the last year anything positive.
Doesn’t that story want to make you cry? What if that was you? What if it was one of your kids? Imagine how your employees feel when all you do is criticize them and seek out every little mistake to call to their attention, humiliate them in front of their peers, and basically rip them a new one by threatening them about their job security.
Do you think maybe their confidence might be down a little? Do you think they’re going to give you their best effort?
If they are good performer, they’ve already got one foot out the door since top talent doesn’t need your job. And when they lose respect for their immediate boss, they can’t wait to leave. They always have great opportunities knocking on their door.
If they are below the top talent level, they just become ROAD Warriors: Retired On Active Duty. You’ll never get an ounce of productivity from them again. They basically shut down.
So, here’s my key question:
What type of formal programs does your company have in place to provide praise as the most important element of a non-monetary reward and recognition system?
If your company is like most other companies, then praise is something that’s basically left up to each individual manager to do as he/she sees fit. We all know that being crowned with that manager title, instantly makes you a great motivator of people.
Okay, if you don’t believe that – why is praise, recognition, and non-monetary rewards systems absent in most companies?
When will you start researching, benchmarking, and implementing praise into your recognition programs to start raising employee motivation?
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