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Executive Blog 23/6/2022

How Effective Recognition Can Prevent Resignation

Mal Stuart
By Mal Stuart
How Effective Recognition Can Prevent Resignation

How Recognition Can Prevent Resignation


This week we have an article from Yvette Martin, Director of Kingfisher’s Advisory division. She discusses how effective recognition can have a beneficial impact on productivity, performance and motivation, and can be powerful in safeguarding your team’s loyalty.


We should never underestimate the power of effective praise and recognition to boost performance, connection and commitment within your terms. Reflect on your own experience, What is the best recognition that you have received? How did it make you feel towards your Manager, your team, and the company you worked for? It is the cheapest, and yet often most overlooked, managerial behaviour when it comes to promoting connection and loyalty within your workforce.


I was speaking to a client of mine yesterday who was singing praises of the challenge I set her to ‘Hunt the Positive’ for one of her team members. This particular person’s behaviour had done a full turn around from being apathetic and barely involved in team conversations, to leaning in, being proactive and offering insightful ideas that have genuinely helped them as they work towards achieving their goals. It goes to show how proper recognition is a very powerful, but often under-utilised  tool that can significantly boost productivity and motivate people in your team.


Research from Gallup, a global behavioural economic consultancy, shows that teams and individuals who can strongly agree with the statement ‘In the last seven days I’ve received recognition or praise for doing good’ had around 20% better performance and revenue. Those that strongly disagreed with that statement were twice as likely to quit.


With all the current talk about The Great Resignation and the high demand for good quality candidates, you can safeguard your people from being poached or from looking to leave on their own account by tapping into the power of praise and giving recognition that resonates. When you get it right, you are much more likely to create loyalty and high performance within your teams.


So how do you give good praise? What is the secret to giving recognition that resonates? 


In order to be effective, research suggests that praise must be specific and immediate. Waiting until performance review time to tell your people what they are doing right will not drive positive behaviours, nor will it capture the power that praise offers to engage and connect with them.


  • Specific: How does your individual team member like to be recognised? – Some people won’t feel recognised unless it is acknowledged in a group setting while others would find this embarrassing and prefer praise to be done one-on-one. The easiest way for you to gain an understanding of the type of praise that will resonate with your individual team members is to ask them ‘what is the best recognition you have ever received’? and then follow up with ‘why was that the best for you’? asking these two questions will give you insight into how your team member is wired and how you, as their manager, can find ways to emulate that in future.
  • Immediate: Once or twice a year at performance review times isn’t enough to realise the positive benefits that drive behavioural change. Instead recognise your team members in the moment or as soon after as possible when you see them doing good work. When you capture your team members in the act of doing something great, and acknowledge the impact that has on team goals, then you also send a powerful message to the rest of the team regarding what behaviour you are looking for. This can be a great way to generate the type of culture you want within your team as it highlights the behaviours that you wish to see more of.


Of course recognition doesn’t just have to come from you as their Leader. High performing teams usually have a culture of peer to peer recognition as well. With colleagues reinforcing positive, collaborative behaviours by calling out how specific actions help them or impact team goals. As a Leader you can reinforce this habit to benefit from multiple praise points beyond what you personally witness.


So, this week, challenge yourself to praise one or two members in your team and recognise something they’ve done well! After all, what you focus on expands, so put your focus on what your team is doing right and you’ll benefit by getting more of that positive behaviour!


If you found this article interesting, check out Yvette’s articles on the hidden power of praise and three easy ways to boost team engagement.