Tom had a great idea to bring more community involvement to his organization. He researched and planned everything it would take to make his idea successful. He then brought his idea to his leadership, and they gave him the green light. He spent hours putting together materials, volunteers, and speaking with the right people to make his idea a reality. The day came, and it was a huge success. After the event, Tom was never congratulated, never thanked, and was never recognized for putting together a successful event for the organization. Leadership, however, saw the success that Tom’s hard work brought and decided to turn it into an annual event. The following year, leadership took control of the event and never once invited Tom into the planning or organization of the event. Tom felt defeated and discouraged for putting in all the hard work that he did and never getting any credit or recognition for the success he brought to the organization. The following year, he chose to stay out of the event.
Samantha works hard for her company. She is always bringing in the most revenue and putting up the biggest numbers for your company. Her way of doing business is a bit unconventional, but it works and brings in the most growth for her company. She is the top producer among her colleagues. She comes in early and stays late whenever she can. She also picks up extra work for her company. However, no matter how hard she works and no matter how much profit she brings in for the company, she has never once been recognized for her outstanding work and performance. After 10 years at the company, Samantha is wondering why she works so hard for her company when all of her hard work goes unrecognized. She struggles with not becoming disgruntled and detached from her work.
Stories like these are numerous throughout companies, organizations, and industries. People who work hard, go above and beyond, and are at the top of their industry go unnoticed and unrecognized. They outperform their colleagues on a consistent basis, but are never recognized for their achievements and hard work. Why do we question our employees’ loyalty when we never recognize those who perform the best for our company or organization? If we want great people working for us, we must recognize those who work hard and make a positive difference in our companies.
Recognition is essential in the workplace. As leaders, we may get caught up in the paperwork, bureaucracy, and other stresses that are put on us from those above us, but we must never neglect those we lead. We must make a conscious effort to recognize those in our company or organization that work hard and perform well. When we take the time to recognize those who outwork and outperform their colleagues, those individuals gain a sense of pride and ownership and are encouraged to keep going above and beyond. When others see that hard work is rewarded and recognized, they become more apt to putting in extra effort and taking pride in what they do.
Please don’t get me wrong, I am not saying leadership should buy hard work. I am also not encouraging the overworking of our staff. I am simply suggesting that we start to take notice of those individuals in our companies and organizations that have been working their ass off without the recognition they deserve. When a leadership position opens in the company, instead of looking outside the company to fill that role, look inward and see the people who have shown leadership and management qualities through their hard work, performance, and results. Instead of a gift certificate to a fancy restaurant, recognize your people with paid time off or a weekend trip. Whatever you do, make it a point to recognize the people in your company and organization for their hard work and contributions.
When leadership takes the time to recognize their people, their people will, in turn, take pride and ownership in what they do. Recognition builds a sense of security and self-worth in one’s company. It also boosts morale and improves retention. It gives staff a sense of pride and positive reinforcement. It shows that they are cared about, and that their hard work and dedication is not going unrecognized. Recognition says, “Thank you for all you do, the hard work you put in, the accomplishments you have made for our company and organization, and we see you as an invaluable asset to our company and organization.”
Be intentional in leadership. Recognize those who work hard and show dedication to what they do. Don’t get so caught up in the stressors of leadership that you neglect your people. Without them, your job means nothing.
As always, stay humble and serve well!