(Employee) Recognition and its importance

(Employee) Recognition and its importance

Merriam-Webster defines RECOGNITION as acknowledging an individual’s due diligence or effort(s) with appreciation … (i.e., with a special emphasis on “appreciation” – that’s my personal add-on). I’m sure that over your career, at one time or another, you have heard the words … “Great job!”, “Well done!” or even better, “You are such an awesome teammate, I just love working on projects with you!” Doesn’t it just feel great to hear those few simple words filter through your ears – from time to time by a colleague, superior, boss or client? Yes, it sure does … I know it does to me. After receiving those complimentary words, we usually get a spring in our step, run a little faster and jump a little higher. Receiving positive comments and/or rewards normally helps us to maintain a sense of motivation, strive for improvement and continue to do the best we can possibly do. By dusting off and referencing my old Management Psychology text book from college, (yes, many, many years ago Amanda & Lee), I remember studying about “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs”. Psychologist, Abraham Maslow developed a five (5) step theory on the needs of human beings which lay out the basic components of life that people need in order to survive and thrive. Maslow went onto theorize that these needs have to be fulfilled before an individual could move on to the next level or stage. In case I have peaked your interest and you want to know more about “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs”, the progression of these needs are as follows: 1.) Physiological Needs are biological related items that you need to stay alive … air, food & water. Needless to say, these needs rank as the strongest needs of all because an individual requires these things to survive. 2.) Safety Needs – After fulfilling physiological needs, individuals seek security. While adults usually display security conscientiousness during emergency siuations, children on the other hand constantly demonstrate signs of needing to feel safe … on a more regular basis. 3.) Needs of Love, Affection and Belonging – To satisfy this phase and in order to move on to the next level, individuals must promote self worth and value by giving and receiving attention, care and support to and with others. This display of affection creates a positive sense of belonging. 4.) Self Esteem Needs – After satisfying the physiological needs, safety needs and needs of love etc., the need for self identification becomes important. Naturally, all individuals possess a desire for self-respect as well as a need for respect from others. On the contrary, when these needs are not satisfied, there is a feeling of frustration, inferiority, weakness, helplessness and worthlessness. 5.) Self-Actualization Needs are realized after the previous four (4) needs are met. Maslow further characterized self-actualization as an individual being and doing what he or she was born to do. Food for thought: o So, how does RECOGNITION play out in your workplace? o Do individuals seem to be motivated less by basic needs and more for something that creates personal fulfillment, esteem and self-actualization? o Are individuals motivated by things other than money often through other rewards? Our hard work and efforts result in paycheck compensation which helps us to survive in society. However, the opportunity for an individual to thrive and demonstrate his/her ‘best side’ is an incredibly powerful motivator. Recognition is not only good for your career but it’s also great for your health. In closing, President John F. Kennedy once said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

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