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Do you want your people to be more engaged? Do you want them excited to come to work? In this blog, we discuss why recognition is the secret sauce of leadership and why you should start using it now. It costs nothing and is as good for you as it is for your people!

“Enjoy every minute of your day off – and know how much we value and appreciate you!”

“AWESOME! So proud of you and the great work you are doing!”

WOW…who gets messages like those at work? Well…I do! When I decided to write about recognition, I thought, “What a better place to start than close to home?” I found the two statements above by scrolling through my texts for less than a minute; they are excerpts from messages from my business owners/friends/mentors Diane and David Zile. Recognition is part of our DNA at JERA Partnerships, and it’s phenomenal. Sometimes leaders get hung up on the logistics of recognition; thinking they don’t have the budget/time/know-how to implement recognition into their organizations effectively. I beg to differ; as Diane and David prove so beautifully above, recognition doesn’t have to cost anything and can take less than a minute to execute something very meaningful.

In today’s environment where the war for talent is here, and organizations are struggling to keep good people once they find them, recognition presents an opportunity to differentiate yourself as a leader. According to Gallup’s 2016 Employee Recognition: Low Cost, High Impact article:

  • Only one in three workers in the US strongly agree that they received recognition or praise for doing good work in the past seven days
  • Employees who do not feel adequately recognized are twice as likely to say they’ll quit in the next year

People who do not feel adequately recognized are twice as likely to quit in the next year; that’s quite sobering. At JERA, we think a lot about recognition; not only because we continually strive to help our clients heighten employee engagement, but because we recently partnered with David Novak and his company, oGoLead. If you don’t know David Novak, please look him up as he is one of the great business minds of our day. He is also relentless about recognition and believes that recognition is a privilege of leadership, not just another thing on your to-do list as a leader. Think about that for a minute – as a leader, recognition is a privilege. When you are a leader of people, it is your conscious decision to recognize people for the good work they are doing…or not. According to the Gallup study cited above, 66% of your competitors are not; take a step to distinguish your leadership and engage your people by choosing to create a culture of recognition!

Philosopher and psychologist, William James, once said, “The deepest principle of human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” You’ll note he does not define the setting; he posits only that people want to be appreciated. I’ve been discussing recognition in a professional setting, but please take a moment and watch the following oGoLead video that illustrates the power of recognition. These are real people – like the people on your teams. Look at the impact being recognized makes, regardless of the reason…what difference would it make if you could bring this much meaning to the people in your life, work or not?


Lori Demshar is JERA Partnerships’ Director of Strategic Engagement. She creates strategic partnerships with her clients leading to increased revenue, improved productivity, and environments where people can do their best work every day.