Managers, Recognize Employees Better With the KISSSSSSSSSS Method

Some companies are great about praising employees in weekly emails and even empowering colleagues to recognize each other. For example, Google has allowed employees to gift each other Amex gift cards for a job well done. If your company isn't great about recognizing employee achievements, there's a lot that you as a manager can do to improve the situation -- but it requires far more than a Keep It Simple, Stupid mindset.

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Employees Need Recognition -- or Else

How bad is the lack of recognition? Wichita State University research found that 81 percent of employees seldom or never received public praise, and 76 percent seldom or never received written thanks from their managers. Additionally, 58 percent said that they rarely or never received praise from their manager. This lack of praise is also a major reason why employees leave their job; in other research from Badgeville, 79 percent of those who quit their jobs cite lack of appreciation as the main reason.

It's obviously important that managers recognize employees more -- and better. But how can you -- as a manager -- ensure you're doing so? And how can employees respond to this lack of appreciation and encourage managers to recognize employees more effectively?

Breaking Down The KISSSSSSSSSS Method

According to Julie Winkle Giulioni, the author of Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go: Career Conversations Employees Want, the answer is to recognize employees using the KISSSSSSSSSS method.

We've all heard of KISS -- "keep it simple, stupid." Giuloni's method, which she explains on Ragan.com, goes beyond the obvious. The KISSSSSSSSSS method suggests that managers recognize employees not just by keeping thing simple, but also by being spontaneous (appreciating employees right at the moment of activity) and by being swift (as she writes, "if it takes longer than 60 seconds, you've probably not thought it through.") She also suggests managers recognize employees by being strategic by identifying the behavior and results by the employee that helped drive results.

Other aspects of the KISSSSSSSSSS method include:

  • being sincere;
  • being singularly focused;
  • keeping it special;
  • making it surprising;
  • being supportive;
  • and helping spread the recognition by enabling peer recognition.

This last point emphasizes a key point of any strong recognition program; though Giulioni developed the KISSSSSSSSSS protocol especially for managers, peers can also be encouraged to use these same methods to recognize each other to show support and encourage each other -- even day-to-day. Employees can also leverage these guidelines when it's time for reviews; if you feel like your manager isn't supportive enough, consider bringing up a few of these ways that you feel could help encourage you do to do a better job -- and feel more appreciated.

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