A recent Gallup poll found that less than half of US employees are completely satisfied when asked about how they are recognized for the work they do. This means, that more than half are not entirely happy with the praise they get from their supervisors.
The poll results are concerning to me. Not only because they imply a lack of empathy employers have for their employees, but also, because of the loss of productivity that often goes hand in hand with dissatisfaction at a workplace.
I do believe in giving credit where credit is due. It is a notion I want to see implemented throughout all layers of the events and meetings industries. Without their teams, event managers would not be able to create the event experiences guests deserve. Wouldn’t it be natural to show appreciation to those who make it all happen?
The WHY … of giving praise
Recognition can motivate, it has the power to evoke exceptional performance, and encouraging words will give your team the self-confidence they need to excel. “I’m a huge advocate of praise,” said Ashleigh Dorfman, CSEP, owner of an award-winning strategic event planning firm. “People need to know their efforts are appreciated.”
Crediting achievements to those who have made them possible will contribute to maintaining a harmonious and happy workplace. Staff members who feel recognized and appreciated tend to feel loyalty towards their workplace, and will produce better results. Dorfman agrees: “Praise makes a difference in performance. An employee who is shown and told that they are appreciated for their talent and hard work will achieve more, typically for the better of the team.”
The need to be recognized for accomplishments is innate to us. This is true not only at home, but also at work. Many of us strive to be recognized for efforts put forward: Producing excellent work, motivating others being a role model or mentor, or simply pulling a project together. Being recognized gives us pride and makes us feel accomplished. And, we will keep working hard to assure praise will come our way again in the future.
Also, I believe that the ability to recognize others for their work can make or break leaders. If an event manager knows how to keep her team motivated, results will exceed the expected. On the other hand, an event will reflect if a team is overwhelmed, feels unappreciated, and is not motivated. “I’m very cognizant that my personal success depends on others,” Dorfman adds. So, recognize staff for what they bring to the table. It will gain you their respect and support, and will help them create the best event experience possible.
The HOW … of giving praise
Showing sincere appreciation is a form of art. It can come in many shapes and sizes. “Supervisors can convey appreciation for their team by showing respect, communicating progress, requesting input, and giving praise. Constantly, not just once,” explains Dorfman. “I share information to keep team members engaged and prepared for on-site. During the event, I express my gratitude, and I always follow up with words of appreciation.”
When saying “thank you,” be specific. Take the time to explain why you are grateful a task was performed a certain way. Rather than thanking your team for doing the job they are paid to do, point out the areas in which they go above and beyond. Acknowledge character traits such as reliability, and the instinct to think ahead. Pass on authority for certain decision making to team members, showing you respect their opinions. And, recognize team members stepping up to the plate by letting them report on their specific accomplishments in meetings, rather than you presenting updates. Let team members own their accomplishments!
Make the effort to talk to your team, and work on getting to know them. Be alert, and listen for small things you could do for them when it is time for you to show your appreciation. Every employee values different things, so find rewards that mean something to them personally. Sending staff into the weekend a few hours early, hosting a team lunch, purchasing a new gadget, signing them up for a class they wanted to take, or organizing a trip to an exhibit, are a few examples of things you can do to show them you care and appreciate their hard work.
My advice: take some time to perfect the skill of giving credit where credit is due! There are many ways to show appreciation, so start finding the right methods for your team! And, remember that above all, consistency is key!
This contribution features opinions of Ashleigh Dorfman, CSEP. Ashleigh is a certified special events professional and owner of posh productions, LLC, an award-winning strategic event planning firm in Reston, VA, specializing in marketing events, fundraising galas and milestone celebrations.