Giving Credit to the Rock Stars

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For this month, our mantra is “Give Credit” –– something that as a company, we relish. We believe it is important to highlight individual contributions and celebrate team wins because in our experience, it leads to higher levels of engagement (…as well as happy hour).

If you work here, you definitely feel the love. We routinely dedicate time for individual shout-outs during our weekly all-hands team meeting and we receive heartwarming emails like this one featured in our International Women’s Day blog post.

But why is giving credit so important?

First, let’s be brutally honest. Giving employees credit can be marketing gold. As pointed out in a Fast Company article, featuring recent campaigns by GE, Sam Adams, UPS, and Foundation Medicine, campaigns that show pride in your employees also send the message that these people make your company great. If you play your cards right, it can be a win-win-win. This strategy can help reposition your company or highlight your mission, aid recruitment efforts, and lure in socially conscious consumers. (This isn’t a new concept, of course. Intel’s image-shattering engineers-as-rock-stars campaign from 2009 is still one of our favorites.)

However, giving credit is about more than what it can do for your brand from an external perspective.

When you give credit, you’re recognizing an individual’s effort. And people need to feel appreciated. In the Forbes article “Feeling Appreciated? Why It Can Make All the Difference,” the best-selling author and leadership coach Margie Warrell notes that when people feel appreciated and valued, they become more engaged. What’s even better? They’re also more likely to dig deep during challenging times.

In an article on building inclusive workplaces, Eric Mosley, the CEO of a technology company focused on driving employee engagement and retention, gave additional insights into the importance of positive reinforcement. He connected it to making employees feel more creative, more energized, more inspired, and even more connected.

Being more engaged? Creating +minded work? Feeling connected? Why wouldn’t we give credit like it’s candy on Halloween?

Well, it turns out that you can have too much of a good thing.

As Sachin H. Jain says in this Harvard Business Review article, “Credit quickly loses meaning when everyone gets it.” When you receive a blanket statement of praise or you’re praised for simply doing your job, the credit means less. While it’s a key part in building a team of motivated and fulfilled individuals, it needs to be executed thoughtfully. Not everyday can be Halloween.

In our case, as our company grew, we noticed that Monday shout-outs were becoming routinely time-sucking. It wasn’t that we were applauding just for the sake of it, but we had fallen into the habit of using the time to appreciate people for being amazing at their jobs — and when everyone is amazing and +minded, you have to draw the line somewhere. After all, we’ve got business to take care of!

The solution? We created a few parameters to giving credit: one shout-out per person, per meeting. That way, being recognized has real value, and it doesn’t become a bunch of noise.

That way, Rock Stars are recognized rather than getting lost in the mix.

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