Management 3.0 Practitioner — Part 3: the power of recognition
Take a minute before reading the rest of this article, and ask yourself if every time you feel grateful to someone, you tell that person about it. It may happen that we assume that the other one knows we value their support, but that is not necessarily right.
A study from Gallup about employee recognition pointed out that the most efficient and effective places of work have a thing in common: a culture of recognition. On the other hand, the Society for Human Resource Management indicates that 79% of people will probably quit their job if it doesn’t have this mindset. Are we realizing which way to go?
A few months ago I was reached out to collaborate with a software development team that was recently created and was beginning to establish their work dynamic, with its six members working remotely. Even though they had a fluid collaboration dynamic, they told me they wanted to start having Retrospective meetings because they felt there were a lot of things to improve: coexistence agreements, responsibilities that weren’t clear, the need for a specific slot meant for thanking and bringing up the good things on the team, among others. For the thanking-related topic, I thought of using Kudos (https://management30.com/practice/kudo-cards/).
This Kudos Cards practice (you can download the cards on this link) consists of recognizing your co-workers in a public manner. Whether someone thanks me for something or I do it to another person, the idea is that we recognize each members’ good actions. They look like this:
In a face-to-face context, you can use physical cards and provide a board where people can stick their cards, or even a box in which they can leave them during the week or month. Then you have a session in which you review them with the whole team. If you have a remote group, you can take a similar approach by using an online board (like Miro or Mural) or even tools like KudoBox.
For this team I was working with, we decided to create a Miro board at the beginning of each work iteration (they lasted 2 weeks) and then, during the Retrospective meeting, we would include a section in which we reviewed the cards that were added. The idea is that at any given moment you had the board available to add your Kudos Card and leave a thanking note. Here we can take a look at it:
Taking a closer look at a Kudo Card, it is important to include a mention to who we are thanking, from who, and a description of why:
By facilitating this practice I learned we encourage the development of a culture of recognition, and that helps motivate people. From the team’s perspective, they were happy with using Kudos and decided to keep it. They learned not only the importance of recognition but also the positive impact it has on themselves that someone leaves a thanking note for them.
My next experiment with this practice will be to ask the team to create their own Kudo Card templates and also establish a session outside the Retrospective meeting, 100% dedicated to recognition.
I suggest that, if you decide to use Kudos, you make the board always available, so that people can leave their thank notes as soon as the idea crosses their minds. If you don’t and end up asking them to upload their cards during a specific session, they might forget something.
No matter how you feel your team is doing with the culture of recognition, don’t miss the chance of experimenting with Kudo Wall, and you’ll probably discover much more that was pending to be said.