Why is Recognition So Important in the Workplace? Ryan Ayers

mickyates Leader, leadership, Organization, Teams 1 Comment

Recognition: we all want it. Most of us feel we don’t get enough of it at work—in fact, one survey found that 82% of Americans find their employers’ appreciation efforts lackluster. It’s a little surprising that many leaders are less than appreciative when their employees do well, since recognition is such an easy and inexpensive way to improve employee happiness—but it happens all the time.

If you’ve ever gone beyond the call of duty and put in extra hours or intense effort on a project, and received no appreciation or recognition for your efforts, then you probably remember how it felt. As a leader, you don’t want to make your employees feel the same way. Recognition is an interesting motivator, because it can take many forms. From a positive conversation to a free lunch to a promotion, the recognition needs to be scaled to match the situation. Unfortunately, this can get tricky—which sometimes results in little to no recognition at all. Other leaders don’t bother praising employees for another reason—they’re too busy.

There are many problems that can stem from a lack of recognition in the workplace. Low morale, high turnover, resentment, and reduced productivity are just a few. We’re not only motivated by money—we want to feel that what we’re doing is valuable. So how can improving your recognition efforts benefit your organization?

It Increases Morale and Teamwork

Appreciation can be a major factor in overall team morale. Good morale is hugely important to a healthy work environment. In a positive atmosphere with high morale, people are more likely to push through challenges and obstacles instead of giving up, and work together instead of working toward only their own goals. Providing recognition whenever it’s warranted is a great way to pull the team together. This is especially important for remote teams (58% of Americans work this way at least sometimes), since it’s more difficult to maintain strong teamwork when the team isn’t physically working in the same space.

It Encourages Better (and Harder) Work

If one of your employees has put their heart and soul into a project, engineering a seamless and high-quality result, how do you think they’ll feel if they don’t get any appreciation for it? Do you think they will work that hard the next time? Not getting recognition for excellent work feels a lot like being taken for granted, which can knock the wind out of work ethic. To ensure ongoing productivity and quality work, recognition is essential.

It Strengthens Culture & Innovation

When people are just going through the motions, your company’s culture will quickly suffer. A positive environment fueled by recognition will help inspire and encourage everyone. A strong business culture is built on relationships, teamwork, and creativity, all of which thrive when employees’ contributions are recognized.

It Fosters Loyalty

A leader who offers employees the respect and recognition they deserve will offer respect and loyalty in return. The old sentiment that people don’t leave companies, they leave managers, rings true when it comes to recognition and loyalty. We all want to work for a boss who recognizes our contributions and cares about us as individuals.

It Helps Retain and Engage 

Higher morale, a more positive environment, and improved teamwork are all reasons that employee recognition helps retain and engage the best talent. In today’s culture of job-hopping and poaching talent, remaining effective managers while retaining your best employees can seem like a monumental task. While it’s true you won’t be able to engage and retain every employee, offering the right kind of recognition at the right time can help you reduce turnover rate and result in a happier, more productive workforce.

Offering Appropriate Recognition

There are so many benefits to employee recognition, but offering recognition isn’t as simple as it seems. A verbal pat on the back may be entirely appreciated and appropriate in one case, but a raise or a promotion is sometimes the only way to show your most valuable employees you appreciate their work. Another factor to consider is how the recognition is distributed—is everyone who deserves recognition getting enough? Do you have standards in place to determine fair recognition gestures to prevent resentment? As a leader, it’s up to you to make these decisions and monitor the results. Getting recognition right isn’t easy, but it will help ensure that your team knows you appreciate them and want them to stay. There are so many reasons that being a leader is challenging, but giving recognition is a privilege—not a chore.

6 Leadership Tips for Managing Creative Teams – Ryan Ayers

mickyates ideas, Innovation, Inspiration, Leader, leadership, Teams 1 Comment

If you’ve ever felt like managing a creative team is like herding squirrels, you’re not the only one. We all know that creative jobs involve a process that’s a little different from the typical office position, and inspiration is not always in large supply. Unfortunately, deadlines and productivity expectations don’t reflect this, and it can be a challenge to keep a team of creative people on track. It takes some creativity on your part and a lot of patience to effectively manage a creative team, but the rewards are well worth the effort. Here are 6 tips you can apply when managing a creative team.

  1. Get to Know Your Team’s Strengths and Weaknesses

This is a must for anyone in a management role, but it’s particularly important when you’re working with a team of creative people. Knowing each team member’s strengths and weaknesses makes delegation more effective and results in higher morale and productivity, because people are not discouraged or unhappy with the tasks they are given.

  1. Don’t Micromanage

Nothing kills creativity faster like someone looking over your shoulder, telling you how to do your job. If you’re learning a new technical skill and you need a lot of guidance, it makes sense that you’d need more management on how to do your job over the result, but the opposite is true when it comes to creative teams. You need to give them the freedom to use their own methods to reach the results you have clearly communicated. Micromanagement not only makes it more difficult for your team to be creative, it can also put a dent in morale and make people resentful or defensive.

  1. Recognition Means More Than Money

People who work creatively love what they do. They love bringing an idea to life, and their work is about more than just bringing home a paycheck. While it is important to compensate creative people appropriately (and give raises when they are deserved), recognition often means more to creative people than monetary incentives. They love to share what they do with others, and they get motivation and satisfaction from knowing that others (especially management) value their work.

On a related note, if you find some of their work lackluster, it’s important to deal with the situation delicately. There is an emotional attachment to creative work, and if you don’t like that work, the creator of it may feel personally slighted. Approach the situation with sensitivity, but don’t accept sub-par work—that reflects on you too.

  1. Encourage Collaboration & Brainstorming

While we all have some romanticized image of the artist or writer making brilliant breakthroughs in a solitary studio, the truth is that talking with others is often the best inspiration. Don’t have meetings that involve endless PowerPoints, use your in-person meeting time to brainstorm and inspire the team to excel in their own projects. There are so many ways you can encourage collaboration among team members that don’t end in them staring at the table and getting nothing done. Team outings and breaks, letting people work outside on their projects together, and providing creative environments are all ways you can help your team accomplish their objectives without prescribing a method or hovering too much.

  1. Don’t Bore Them

Being bored at work is no way to bring creative ideas to life. Offer opportunities for development, switch up the office environment, and make sure your department’s culture doesn’t stagnate. Be open to different ideas for livening up the office—there’s nothing wrong with being flexible as long as expectations are met.

  1. Prioritize Trust and Communication

This is a big one. Start out with optimism, and trust your team, unless they’ve given you reason not to trust (if that’s the case, other evaluations probably need to happen). Communication will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and can be relied on to get the job done. Deadlines and expectations for deliverables drive a creative team, but none of that can happen if everyone is stressed out and distrustful. If someone has a good idea, let them run with it. They’re the creatives, after all! There’s a reason creative teams haven’t been replaced by artificial intelligence: we need the pure innovation of the human mind. Work with your team to unlock that innovation through communication, and you should see some impressive results.