In Jacob Morgan’s The Employee Experience Advantage, he tells us that authentic employee recognition is a necessary component for employee engagement:
“Recognizing employees for work they do should be a common practice, and there are many ways that this can be done...How about a personalized, handwritten note? A special project for them to work on? A round of applause in front of their peers and other leaders?...Understand what employees care about and how they want to be recognized (ask; don’t tell).”
Recognition for your coaches and gym staff is something they need in order to feel valued. And as Morgan explains, it’ll only really work if you have conversations about how they want to be recognized. It might go something like this:
During a one-on-one...
Box Owner: “So Jess—how do you like to be recognized for work you’re doing exceptionally well? Like when you go way above and beyond the call of duty, and I want to show my appreciation for your hard work, what would be most meaningful to you?”
Coach Jess: “Wow! Hmm. Good question. I’m not sure, actually. No one’s ever asked me that before. Umm…”
Box Owner: “Yeah! It’s a difficult question, actually. Especially for selfless people (like you!) who are always thinking of everyone else’s needs first. Let me give you some examples. That might help...Would you want a gift card to your favorite store/restaurant? Or to be recognized in front of the team (that would be my answer, by the way!)? Or maybe a full day off? Maybe an opportunity to work on a new project?”
Coach Jess: “Probably recognition in front of the team. Like during a staff meeting. That would be awesome. But I also like the idea of working on a new project. I’d say either of those. Thank you for asking!”
Box Owner: “Cool! Thanks for sharing that with me. I want you to know how much I appreciate your work, and I want to make sure I recognize you in a way that’s actually meaningful to you. And if you think of something else, let me know.”
This kind of conversation will help you understand what your coaches/staff need from you in order to feel like they are a valuable part of the team. And feeling valued is a huge piece of the employee engagement puzzle.
Morgan also encourages us to think outside the recognition box: “Try to move beyond the typical process to focus on the human aspects of making employees feel valued. It’s okay to be creative.”
Have fun with employee appreciation! Show your gratitude for a job well done in a creative way—don’t just stop at Target and grab a random gift card you think they’ll sort of like. Once your staff tells you how they want to be recognized, get thinking on how to make their request extra special.
They went above and beyond in their work; now it’s your turn to go above and beyond in your recognition of that work.