Who doesn’t need a little boost to their self-esteem from time to time?  We all come to a point in our jobs where a little pat on the back or “Way to go!” helps keep the motivation to propel you forward. While recognizing the accomplishments of your employees can be a feel-good exercise for all, you might be happy to know it also has a practical purpose!

Consider the story of Rachel, a new store clerk at a geological supply store. Rachel started working at the store as a part-time clerk/bookkeeper.  While she was great with numbers and paid attention to detail, this was a very new type of work for her and as she had not done this type of work before, Rachel was naturally a little nervous.

A couple of months in, she had accumulated a variety of tasks she was responsible for and did her best to do it all correctly.  Basic bookkeeping, inventory management, customer service, setting up product, etc. All of it, she had laid out in a careful routine in her shift.  However, in her insistence to do everything correctly, she constantly questioned and stressed over her completed work.

“I did it this way the last time and didn’t hear if it was right or not. I guess I will do the same this time”, she would say to herself.  She felt she was too “new” to bother her already very busy boss to ask, “Have I been doing this work right, these past couple of months?”

One day, she finished organizing the storeroom, looked around at her completed masterpiece and began to question herself as to whether the snowshoes should have gone in that corner, instead of the skis and should the cabinet of maps be moved and so on.  As she started to re-do, she heard her boss behind her.

“What are you doing?  It already looks great!”

In that moment Rachel, finally got up the courage to ask.  “Am I doing an ok job?

Surprised, her boss said “Of course. I’d let you know if you weren’t.

With that, Rachel no longer questioned her accomplishments at the store.

“How do I know if I am doing a good job?”

Be proactive instead of waiting for the employee to ask how they are doing, perhaps let them know ahead of time if they are on the right track and lead off with a “Great Job!” comment.  Recognizing and saying something on employee accomplishments can be very helpful and in Rachel’s case it was also practical, so she didn’t waste time re-doing tasks or stressing.

Some common ways to let an employee know they are doing a great job might include:

  • Just telling them face-to-face if you are in the type of work setting to be able to do so;
  • Sending an email letting them know you appreciate the work they’ve done;
  • Mailing a personalized note to tell them (let’s face it we get more email than mail nowadays!); or
  • Give them a call to tell them they did a good job.

What if it is a team effort that helped your company reach an accomplishment:

  • Let them know in a team meeting that all of their contributions have led to a fantastic outcome. (Maybe bring a little surprise to the meeting? Donuts?  A healthier option?); or
  • Set-up a team outing! (We’re all used to our employees from a work perspective, but it can be wonderful to see how people are away from work)

Perhaps you already know that these accomplishments need to be recognized but are looking for a more creative way to recognize these employees.  Forbes magazine has an article on 11 Creative Ways to Recognize Employee Success that you may find interesting.

While you are busy finding ways to let your employees know how great they are, don’t forget you’re a part of the team too!  So don’t let your accomplishments slip under the radar either!