You may have watched this weekend’s NBA All-Star game, but do you know why those players were picked to play? It’s not about points scored or minutes played, and it’s not about the dollars they earn for team owners. They’re chosen by the people most touched by their work. The NBA lets fans pick half of the starting players — and the rest are picked by fellow players and the media who cover them. Coaches pick the reserves. The stars are brought into this national spotlight because their work has made an impression on the people closest to the game — and it’s the fact that fans, peers, reporters, and coaches are responsible for the selection that makes the occasion even more special for the players.
This dynamic is a good lesson for other workplaces. Celebrating the achievements of your employees not only creates a sense of pride for that person, it also leads an overall feeling of positivity in the office and creates a sense of inclusiveness. That’s especially true when the recognition is coming not just from a supervisor, but also from elsewhere such as colleagues or clients and customers. There’s nothing that makes a business more productive than a happy employee who feels respected for their contributions. There are many ways to keep someone engaged with their work, but it starts with being recognized for who they are and the work they do — especially when that recognition comes from unique places.
With that in mind, here are a few Quality of Lifehacks to help celebrate the all-stars in your work world.
Identify your all-stars from the bottom up. It’s great when a boss or a committee of managers wants to call attention to an employee’s achievement, but it can be extraordinary when that recognition originates from a peer. Try creating a forum for nominations in your office for a monthly all-star award and then ask the person who nominated the employee to present the award.
Pay it forward. Some workplaces may offer a financial incentive to reward all-stars. There’s nothing wrong with that. Everybody loves a gift card to spend on something fun, or a certificate for a nice restaurant. Instead, consider offering an employee a chance to donate to a charity of his or her choice. Not only will people feel great about being recognized, they’ll also feel good that they’ve helped out a cause that’s special to them.
Don’t keep it a secret. An employee can get praised for stellar work with an office celebration — but often that’s where the story ends. Instead, make an effort to let your customers and clients know that the person they interact with has just been recognized by his or her own colleagues for their great work. That kind of respect will go a long way in reinforcing your company’s reputation outside the office.
The bottom line: Never stop thinking about fresh ways to acknowledge the people who are the core of your business.
How are you recognizing people for good work in your office? Tell us your ideas in the comments.