• Augusta Vivian

The power of recognition: How to motivate your team

Updated: Oct 10


“Brains, like hearts, go where they are appreciated” ~ Robert McNamara


82% of employees feel they don’t receive enough recognition. In 2019 XpertHR found that “being recognised for the work I do” was the most important motivator, even higher than a pay rise.


The benefits are huge a more engaged workforce leads to:

  • 21% more profits

  • 31% increased productivity

  • 14% higher client satisfaction

Do you recognise your team enough? And do you recognise them in a way that motivates them to achieve more?


It is easy, when striving to give more recognition, to fall into the one-size-fits-all trap of recognising everyone in the same way, for example giving everyone an award for their hard work. What we need to be conscious of is recognising our team in different ways depending on their language of recognition.


Our brain is more similar to our heart than we realise. Our hearts seek love, and as Chapman shares there are “five love languages”, these are: Words of affirmation, Acts of service, Receiving gifts, Quality time and Touch.


The language of love can be translated into the language of recognition. So, start by working out how each person in your team likes to be recognised. Are they motivated by words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time or appropriate touch? Find out more about what these are below.


How to recognise each person’s language

  1. The best thing to do is ask them in your next scheduled one to one

  2. Reflect on what recognition you have given in the past that motivated that individual

  3. Look at how they recognise other people, often it is the same as how they like to be recognised

Once you have worked out their language of recognition, spend time showing your appreciation in their language.


What does each language look like and how can you recognise your team?


1. If they like to be recognised by ‘Words’

  • Write them a hand written card saying what a great job they have done

  • Give specific positive feedback in your one-to-one

  • Send them an email thanking them for something they have done well recently

2. If they like ‘Acts of service’

  • Jump on a zoom call and talk through a challenge they have

  • Help them with a proposal they need to write

  • Give them Friday afternoon off as they have accomplished so much this week

3. If they like ‘Receiving gifts’

  • Send them a hamper to say thank you

  • Post them a recipe you think they might enjoy cooking

  • Create a certificate on Canva and present it to them in your team meeting

4. If they like ‘Quality time’

  • Ensure you prioritise your one to one with them

  • Book in a virtual cuppa with them

  • Give them a voucher to join a virtual drawing class with you

5. If they like ‘Touch’


At the moment you can’t give a high five or go and sit with them for an afternoon in the office, so instead:

  • Spend time away from work getting to know them

  • Share something personal about yourself

  • Organise a fun team activity


"An employee's motivation is a direct result of the sum of interactions with his or her manager." ~ Dr. Bob Nelson


Next time you want to recognise someone in your team, ask yourself: what is their language of recognition? Tailor your approach and reap the benefits of a more engaged team.



Get in touch with the Higson team to learn more about the power of recognition and other ways you can engage and motivate your team.

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