Here is an excerpt from an article written by David Novak for Harvard Business Review and the HBR Blog Network. To read the complete article, check out the wealth of free resources, obtain subscription information, and receive HBR email alerts, please click here.
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Recently I’ve been undergoing treatment for cancer, and have had access to a leading oncologist at a world-renowned medical center. At one point during a visit, we discussed how long she’s been practicing her specialty. She said she’s been at the same hospital for more than 40 years. Then I asked what her employers had given her to note that amazing milestone — four decades of saving lives! With a shrug of acceptance rather than indignation, she laughed and showed me a plastic key chain that had been mailed to her. Clearly, that gift was a classic employer mistake — a trivial attempt at recognition that not only missed the mark but also disappointed rather than inspired.
If even doctors who save hundreds of lives each year are getting plastic key chains, it’s no wonder most workplaces suffer from what I call a “recognition deficit.” This deficit is especially bad for those whose jobs are viewed as more mundane than a highly trained cancer specialist — for people who never gain direct appreciation from customers, clients, or others who can recognize a job well done even if an employer doesn’t.
We need to recognize the tremendous value people bring to their work, regardless of their role in the organization.
Recognition isn’t just about implementing employee programs to check them off a list; it’s about bringing out the best in people and improving your company’s bottom line.
According to a survey recently commissioned for my new company OGO (O Great One!), 82% of employed Americans don’t feel that their supervisors recognize them enough for their contributions. That lack of recognition takes a terrible toll on morale, productivity, and, ultimately, profitability. Another key finding: 40% of employed Americans say they’d put more energy into their work if they were recognized more often.
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Here is a direct link to the complete article.
David Novak is the co-founder and retired Chairman and CEO of Yum! Brands and the founder of OGO (O Great One!), a brand dedicated to helping people through the power of recognition. His latest book is O GREAT ONE! A Little Story About the Awesome Power of Recognition.