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How recognition can turn your employees into superheroes

We all love superheroes, right? And why not, they possess supernatural or superhuman powers, and, even more important, can use these powers to fight evil and protect us from supervillains.

But that’s just in movies, certainly we don’t face supervillains in the workplace? Wrong! Here are three supervillains I’ve come up against who may sound familiar to you as well:

  1. Doctor Disengagement - this supervillain sucks engagement out of your employees, leaving them dissatisfied, unproductive and causing disruption and devastation to your customers and to your business.

  2. Magnetico - this supervillain is a disengaged employee who hides out in your company, and when the time is right swoops in and lures others to join them. They promise them that things are better with them, leaving your business weak and vulnerable.

  3. The Infiltrator - this supervillain is found in competitor companies, ones that get stronger by weakening your company by infiltrating and stealing your valuable talent. They entice your employees by convincing them to join them in their quest, leaving you again weak and vulnerable.

But don’t worry, because I’m here to tell you about a secret weapon that will turn your employees into superheroes, helping you not only destroy supervillains, but help your business succeed in this competitive and challenging world we all operate in.

And the secret weapon is recognition, something that I’ve seen time and time again turn ‘normal’ employees into superheroes. Now they may not be able to leap tall buildings or lift a bus, but here are some of the superpowers I’ve seen when recognition is done in a strategic, continuous and meaningful way:

  1. Perform better - superheroes are the ones who outperform the likes of anyone and everyone that gets in their way. They use their super powers to overcome obstacles and defeat supervillains, which are exactly the kind of super powers your business needs to defeat the super villains and your competitors. Need proof? According to a survey by Reward Gateway, 70% of employees said that motivation and morale would improve if managers simply said thank you more, and a survey by Socialcast said that 69% of employees said they’d work harder if they felt their efforts were being recognized. I don’t know about you, but if 7 out of my 10 employees became superheroes, I’ve be quite happy!

  2. Are courageous - superheroes are also the first to jump into a burning building to save the day. And while you don’t want your employees to literally do this, you do want ones who are brave enough to innovate and push the boundaries in how they treat your customers, develop your products, and anything else to help your business succeed. Recognition is a great way to show your employees that you appreciate them after they perform their super hero acts, encouraging them to do so time and time again.

  3. Last person standing - and finally, superheroes don’t leave until their job is done, not fleeing the scene if things get tough or something better comes along. And again, this concept is just as important for businesses, as you don’t want to lose your superheroes to your competitors. And again, recognition can help as it doesn’t just turn them into superheroes, but it makes them be the ‘last person standing’ by not leaving you. According to a study by Reward Gateway, 50% of employees would leave their company if they weren’t regularly thanked and recognized for their efforts.

I challenge you to go out and find ways to use recognition at your company to create your own superheroes. For to quote Superman, “There is a superhero in all of us, we just need the courage to put on the cape.” By appreciating and recognizing your employees, you’re giving them the courage to put on their superhero cape, and setting them free to defeat the supervillains before they defeat you.


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