The Great Result of Asking People How They Want to be Acknowledged

HR Happy Holidays 2013

Emily Robinson-Endert, SPHR Director of Human Resources at Covenant Woods, and a participant in one of IIL’s Grateful Leadership webinars, recently shared this simple, yet effective strategy with our group during one of our sessions. After hearing it I was filled with joy. Therefore, I asked Emily if she would mind writing up her strategy for all of us.

Much to my delight, she agreed to do so…

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When I hire a new person for my team, I ask how he or she prefers to be recognized or acknowledged. Some people will say a simple thank you; others say in front of the team; and some say chocolate! 🙂

Oftentimes, introverts don’t want to bring attention to themselves. For that reason, they tell me a note or a pat on the back will suffice. Extroverts, on the other hand, might have no problem with you shouting their acknowledgment from the rooftops, or even posting it on a billboard. Every person is unique and I do my best to respect their wishes while still acknowledging their contributions. I started this practice when I was a direct sales leader; I needed a way to thank my team members when we met a goal, and I wanted it to be meaningful to the individual.

You can learn a lot about a person from their answer to the question “how do you like to be recognized?” When you ask this early on, it creates a solid foundation for a new and growing relationship. Having said that, I believe in being frank and candid with people. I’ve never had anyone respond to my question with an outrageous request I couldn’t deliver, but I believe if that happened I would explain right away that it was out of my range and ask them to select something within a defined boundary. Bottom line: being honest goes a long way.

 So… how do you like to be recognized?

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Great question, Emily! In fact, the entire Grateful Leadership team would love to get everyone’s answer to this powerful question. Comment below or send your answers to Judy.Umlas@iil.com.

With gratitude,

Judy Umlas

*The above photo is of Emily and her HR team. It was taken just after their holiday celebration at Spirited Art in Richmond, VA, after Emily had utilized her strategy, inquiring where the team would like to celebrate. As a result, the photo was then used as their HR Holiday Greetings to all employees.