588: Recognition

A Thousand Things to Talk About
588: Recognition

How do you prefer to be recognized for good work?

Full episode script

Praise by name, criticize by category — at least, that’s what Warren Buffett suggests. I’d never be one to argue that one way works for everyone, but a lot of the research that I’ve found says that recognition of some kind can be absolutely essential in running a business well.


From a 2016 Harvard Business Review article, quote:

JetBlue data revealed that for every 10% increase in people reporting being recognized, JetBlue saw a 3% increase in retention and a 2% increase in engagement. In addition, the JetBlue data also showed that engaged crew members were three times more likely to “wow” their customers and twice as likely to be in the top 10% of net compliments reported by customers. Thus, recognition is not just an issue of employee retention; it also has an impact upon customer satisfaction and loyalty as well. And those numbers are actually conservative. Symantec found a 14% increase in engagement scores based upon their social recognition program.


It’s not entirely surprising – in 2013, CareerBuilder did a survey where they found that 50% of surveyed workers named increased employee recognition as one of the top things a company could do to improve retention, about the same number that suggested flexible work schedules.


What most of these studies don’t outline, however, is how to balance different styles of preferred recognition. I’ll never forget an awesome coworker that I once was on a team with turning bright red and trying his best to become one with the wall when he was publicly called out in a team meeting for doing awesome work. In other words, recognition is great — but only if it’s something that doesn’t mortify the recipient.


So, if someone wanted to say something very nice about you or the work you are doing, how would you prefer they do so?

This script may vary from the actual episode transcript.