Recognition: The Single Biggest Driver of Success

Someone asked me recently what I thought was the single biggest driver of organisational success.  

It took only a fraction of a second to respond. Recognition. From the moment we arrive on this planet until the moment we leave it, our need for recognition governs and defines our human experience. 

And great organisations get this – how we recognise and reward our people has long been the cornerstone of effective management and successful organisations.

But as organisations become ever leaner, meaner machines this week we explore how each of us can invoke the power of recognition.

The Push and The Pull

The battles for talent and competitive edge are only going to intensify. Recognition is the not-so-secret ingredient for not only how to hire and retain the right people but also to enable them to perform at their best for the long haul.  

But as technology continues to transform what we do, as organisational structures adapt and transform how we do it, the ways in which we recognise, engage and reward people has to keep pace.

Forward-thinking organisations are activating recognition on on three levels:

Smart companies are leveraging technology to harness the energy and experiences of their people. Building lines of communication up, down and across the organisation can have a huge impact on how engaged and recognised people feel, and on the health of the bottom line. 

Whatever happens organisationally, local trumps global – our relationship with the people we work with is what defines our daily experiences. If you're the leader of a team your influence is huge, so take time out to look at what you could be doing more to really connect with people and recognise individual efforts. 

Firstly we need to recognise ourselves and the impact we have on others. Wherever we work in an organisation, it's how we behave in our encounters with each other that defines our culture. So we have a responsibility to ourselves to and to each other. Even the simple decision to smile at people more, or to say thank you more often can have transformative effects. 

There are a million ways to recognise people and their efforts, so this week we challenge you to think of five new approaches – and try them out. Let us know how you get on.

Why bother?

A recent whitepaper commissioned by Fortune 100 Best Company to Work For investigates the root cause of great employee performance and how managers can tailor their workplaces to promote it. The paper gathers its conclusions from an open-ended survey where respondents were asked the question, "What is the most important thing that your manager or company currently does that would cause you to produce great work?"

The data is clear - way above a promotion, or training, at 37% recognition is by far the biggest driver of employee experience, the biggest driver of performance.

So if we want to get the best from our working lives let's all consider how we can help to make authentic and meaningful recognition a more significant part of our management philosophy - individually, as a team and as an organisation.