Recognise This! – Delaying recognition eliminates much of the benefit of the recognition event itself.

In looking through the post history on Recognise This!, I realise I’ve been remiss in directly addressing the most critical components for successful, impactful, meaningful employee recognition – timely appreciation and praise.

Sure, I’ve written on the importance of timely recognition in conjunction with other best practices such as frequent recognition, specific and detailed recognition messages, but never with the focus timely recognition deserves.

Why is timely recognition important?

1) Intimately links recognition to the action or event being recognised

People forget. When we hold off on recognising desirable actions or excellent results until an end-of-year bonus orquarterly meeting, the employee often forgets the context of the reason they are being recognised.

2) Encourages recipients to repeat behaviours

A consequence of delaying recognition also means the employee may not understand how impactful their actions or behaviours were. With timely recognition, employees now clearly understand expectations and know what you want them to achieve or repeat. With that knowledge and the appreciation of their efforts, employees are both more willing and able to repeat desired behaviours and actions more frequently.

3) Drives motivation by recognising progress for meaningful work

Extensive research shows the most important factor for employee motivation is making progress in meaningful work. We must not delay recognition until completion of a major project. In some groups or industries, those projects can take years to complete. For example, in a pharmaceutical research organisation, bringing a new drug through the discovery, investigative and approval process can be very lengthy. It’s important to recognise the people involved as they make progress along the way, achieve key milestones, or demonstrate desired behaviours in line with core values as the push to reach the end goal.

Do you find recognition to be more meaningful when it happens in the moment than many weeks or months later?