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Ask the Expert

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Employee recognition

Posted: October 30, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 30, 2013 2:00 a.m.
 

Millions of people have seen the recent “I Quit” video which went viral with over 15 million hits:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ew_tdY0V4Zo.

Regardless of whether you agree with her decision to post a dance video in which she quits her job (now more than 89,000 likes), the value of employee recognition is clear.

Study after study shows that most employees want feedback on how they are doing. They want recognition and comment on their work, even if it is just standard work.

Recognizing that employees show up on time, do good work, meet their deadlines, and continue to be team players can motivate them to go from good to great.

People generally respond well to positive feedback and even to corrective feedback, if they feel valued by their supervisor and the company they work for.

Showing that you value an employee can be as easy as casually mentioning that you really appreciate him or her for meeting expectations.

I know that right now many of you are saying, “Congratulate someone for just doing their job? That doesn’t make sense!” But the truth is that most employees need to know how they are doing on a regular basis in order to stay engaged in their work and their job.

Recognition is a goldmine of opportunity for increased productivity and morale in the workplace, yet it goes un-mined in many organizations today.

A recent Project Management Institute North Los Angeles (PMI-LA) Chapter meeting at College of the Canyons featured a presentation by Bill Bellows from Aerojet Rocketdyne (formerly Pratt & Whitney).

Bill pointed out that we tend to look at projects as in a state of “green-yellow-red” and we concentrate on fixing red and yellow areas because these areas are where the problems lie.

Bill pointed out that none (or very few) of us work on the “green” areas because these are “good enough.”

Bill’s point was that “good enough” is the lowest threshold of “good” and many items that start out as green or good enough, end up as yellow or red problem areas. It is the same with employees.

Every company has employees who are in the “green” meaning they meet standards. But without working with these employees to improve even more, by accepting “good enough” as status quo, we will eventually see many of them become an issue (i.e. turn yellow or red). Then we will have to deal with them because they have now become problematic.

Training: A Form of Employee Recognition?

Employee training programs can be used as a form of recognizing “good” employees.

Being asked to attend specialized training programs that increase employee skills in needed areas is an investment by the company in its workforce. This is a sign that the company values the employee and sees a future in that employee.

Investing in employee professional development is also an investment in the company’s capacity. Providing timely training of in-demand skills is not only necessary to remain competitive, but can also promote increased morale and productivity.

As one trainee recently put it, “Everything I learned, which is a lot, will benefit me in my company.”

In today’s complex and highly technological environment increased skill development is absolutely necessary and has many benefits in the workplace.

At College of the Canyons Employee Training Institute (ETI) we specialize in developing and delivering customized training programs to meet industry needs. ETI is a low-cost leader in providing high-quality training programs and in many cases can utilize state programs to offset training costs for eligible businesses and employees.

John Milburn is the Director of the Employee Training Institute (ETI) at College of the Canyons.

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