So, you have a \u201creward and recognition\u201d segment planned in your annual general meeting and a \u201cbest employee\u201d award for every month? Do you think this is enough for recognizing and appreciating your employees? Employee recognition is much more than a fleeting term included in management books and training.\u00a0 A good manager would know that employee recognition is not just about distributing awards or monetary incentives. It is channelized by genuine interest, honest feedback and a long-term relationship beyond work matters. Let's discuss how employee recognition helps a manager. Why does employee recognition matter for managers? It encompasses ongoing efforts to build an honest relationship of trust between a manager and her employees. When a manager recognizes her employees\u2019 efforts, the employees are more likely to feel connected to the manager and the team. You cannot achieve this level of reliance unless your employees know that you value their work and acknowledge their efforts.\u00a0 Most studies reveal a direct correlation between employee recognition and employees\u2019 happiness.\u00a0 In the words of Richard Branson,\u00a0a British business magnate, investor, author and former philanthropist I have always believed that the way you treat your employees is the way they will treat your customers, and that people flourish when they are praised. When an employee knows that her work matters for the team, they do not shy away from going an extra mile.\u00a0 Employees are the thread that connects your organizations.\u00a0 They are the hands that help your team achieve its goals and prove your competency as a leader. As a manager, your primary job is to nurture and retain such talent which can catapult your team goals into a success story. And, the first step towards securing your employees\u2019 loyalty begins with recognizing their worth and acknowledging their abilities.\u00a0 Why is employee recognition important for remote employees? When you have remote employees, the need for effective employee recognition becomes all the more important.\u00a0 Especially during the times of Covid-19, a little praise and recognition from their manager can lift an employee\u2019s spirit. When you work with your team in the same office space, it is easier to go up to them and pat their backs.\u00a0 However, the lack of face-to-face connection deprives us of these benefits during remote work. As a result, a remote employee may start feeling under-appreciated and uninspired.\u00a0 Hence, it becomes even more crucial to take extra efforts in making them feel recognized and valued.\u00a0 When they are recognized for the impact of their work, they feel more aligned with the team goal and develop a sense of belonging to the organization. Working from home in their comfort zone may seem like a great perk but nothing can compare to the feeling of being applauded by their leader. In this article, we discuss employee recognition at length and talk about the importance of one on one meetings in making an employee feel appreciated.\u00a0 So, read on as we discover the do\u2019s of employee recognition and how to make them work.\u00a0 What makes employee recognition effective? \u201cHey Taylor, your weekly report was fantastic this time around. The analysis was accurate and to the point - especially the addition of charts made it simple and effective. Thank you for taking care of extra details and keep up the good work.\u201d The above statement is a great example of what an effective employee recognition looks like. While it looks simple, it requires considering certain points to deliver a statement that helps employees feel recognized.\u00a0 Here\u2019s what you need to keep in mind to ensure that your employee recognition efforts are effective\u00a0 1Be regular As stated above, you need to be regular with employee recognition. Giving an award once a year doesn\u2019t help in creating an environment of trust and value-exchange. In fact, it may seem formal and forceful. You don't want your employee to feel like Tina! When you recognize an employee regularly, they know that you\u2019re paying attention to their work and truly recognize their hard work.\u00a0 2Be specific Saying "good job"may make an employee feel great temporarily. However, saying \u201chey, nice work on the presentation\u2019s graphics\u201d tells an employee that you followed their presentation earnestly and appreciate the details they toiled over.\u00a0 It is more effective and encourages them to continue putting the same efforts. Thus, you need to dig deeper into their work and find what made it stand out. 3Be spontaneous Receiving praise for a job well done immediately after it is over is a different kind of a high for an employee. Their hard work is fresh in their mind and their manager\u2019s appreciation helps them in realizing that it was worth it.\u00a0 Recognition delayed is recognition denied! If you wait for too long to recognize their efforts, its impact will lower down.\u00a0 This is why it is advised to appreciate your employees regularly, especially in the one on one meetings.\u00a0 Why are one on one meetings a great idea for employee recognition? One on one meetings are meant for a manager to give ample amounts of time to each of her employees.\u00a0 They help in building a relationship that goes beyond workplace requirements and transnational nature.\u00a0 One on one meetings add a human touch to your communication with your employees and cultivate empathy. They\u2019re also a great space to praise your employee and appreciate their work due to many reasons.\u00a0 Here\u2019s why you should include employee appreciation in your next one on one meeting. 1Personalized discussion A one \u00a0one meeting provides a space where a manager can get to know her employees on an individual level. In a general meeting or scenario, you wouldn\u2019t get a chance to speak more about a single employee and would appreciate the team efforts more. In a one on one meeting, you can focus on their singular performance and its highlights rather than speaking in generalized terms. 2Opportunity to get into details Praise is an outcome of extraordinary efforts and continuous hard work. During a one on one meeting, you can be more specific with your compliments and explain how an individual employees\u2019\u00a0 behaviour has benefited the team goals. You can discuss the hows\u2019 and why\u2019s of good behaviour and inspire your employees to practice them in future.\u00a0 3Regular occurrence A one on one meeting is a regular part of a manager\u2019s calendar. You don\u2019t have to find a special time in your schedule to discuss your direct report\u2019s good performance.\u00a0 You can include it in your one on one meetings\u2019 agenda and dedicate some time to its discussion. 8 ideas for employee recognition during one on one meetings 1Give positive feedback Giving feedback is the easiest idea for employee recognition.\u00a0 It tells your direct report that their work is significant enough to be evaluated and discussed.\u00a0 Remote employees, especially, look forward to positive feedback as it is their only way to assess how they\u2019ve been doing at their work.\u00a0 However, it is more than saying \u201cgood job\u201d in a zoom meeting or giving a thumbs up while you pass by them in the hallway. Positive feedback which comprises productive and meaningful actionable insights can lead to the adoption of the right behaviour.\u00a0 This kind of feedback would require a detailed discussion between you and your direct report.\u00a0 One on one meetings are the perfect spot for you to give feedback to your employees.\u00a0 As it is an individual meeting, you can tell each of your direct reports what part of their performance stood out and what made it better.\u00a0 If you\u2019re unsure about how to give feedback in a manner that it drives better performance. Here are a few real-life examples-\u00a0 \t \t \tWhen an employee performs better than usual \u201cHey, your performance was exceptional last week and it helped us in exceeding our target by 40%. How did you do it? Did you try something new? \tWhen an employee executes a task out of her comfort zone \u201cYou were really good at the presentation yesterday. I know that you shy away from public speaking and I really appreciate that you decided to give it a go. Especially the way that you gave examples made the presentation more interesting\u201d \tWhen an employee sets the right examples for behaviour \u201c We really appreciated the way you asked everyone\u2019s opinion while moderating the conversation. Teamwork has always been our core value and your gesture was a great example of that. Thank you.\u201d 2Boost morale with positive conversation Busy schedules and approaching deadlines leave little or no time for meaningful conversations between a manager and her direct report. Our conversations either revolve around correcting behaviour or discussing technical aspects. However, if used thoughtfully, a positive conversation can become your go-to ideas for employee recognition. A conversation involving details of an employee\u2019s behaviour and performance can be of great help to boost morale.\u00a0 Now, there\u2019s only one way to ensure that you indulge in the right conversations with your direct reports - one on one meetings.\u00a0 One on one meetings are designed to encourage deeper conversations with a positive outlook between a manager and her direct report.\u00a0 You have more time to focus on every individual and drive them to right behaviour by stimulating their triggers.\u00a0 Let\u2019s look at a real-life example of starting a positive conversation -\u00a0 Dina handles a team of 10 sales associates and is responsible for their performance. She notices that one of her direct reports, Bryan, has converted a few good leads this week.\u00a0 In her next one on one meeting with him, she decides to concentrate on this aspect. She asks him, \u201cyour efforts were tremendous this week. We all are so proud of you. What helped you be the star this week? What do you think is going right?\u201d.\u00a0 Here\u2019s how this conversation helped her make this conversation positive and fruitful -\u00a0 \t \t \tIt had praise and recognition for the employee. \tIt told him that the team has noticed his efforts. \tIt made him ponder upon the external factors that led him to success.\u00a0 \u00a0A positive conversation helps a direct report feel valued, recognized and drives him to identify his support for a good performance.\u00a0 3Give them opportunities Nothing makes an employee feel recognized than getting the right opportunities in their workplace.\u00a0 When you offer more opportunities to your direct report, you inadvertently recognize their skills and potential to grow. When employees work from home, they become unsure about where their career is going.\u00a0 Talking to them about growth opportunities can help them get reassurance about their work.\u00a0 These opportunities could range from suggesting them the right learning programs to giving them a bigger role in a project.\u00a0 If these learning opportunities are personalized, they become even more encouraging.\u00a0 In a one on one meeting, you can discuss each employee\u2019s aspiration and learning curve.\u00a0 Through detailed conversations, you can help them in choosing what\u2019s good for their growth.\u00a0 When most ideas for employee recognition fall flat, carving fruitful opportunities help in engaging employees.\u00a0 Here\u2019re some real-life examples to help you make better opportunities for your direct report in a one on one meeting -\u00a0 \t \t \tWhen you see potential in an employee \u201cHey, I have been noticing that you\u2019re great at analytical reporting. Do you know about this online course which can help you get professional expertise in the same field?\u201d \tWhen you want a direct report to get more responsibility \u201cHey, your support has helped me a lot in this project. There\u2019s a new project coming up, would you have time to join me on it?\u201d \tWhen you want your direct report to become to be more visible in the organization \u201cOur annual meeting is coming up. I have noticed that you\u2019re great at team activities. Why don\u2019t you join the organization committee?\u201d \tExpress interest in your employees\u2019 professional development and growth Studies reveal that most employees cite a lack of growth and career development opportunities as the top reason for leaving a job.\u00a0 In fact, most millennials consider career development as an essential factor to select an organization. Lack of interest in a direct report\u2019s career development could lead them to think that their work is not given the importance it deserves.\u00a0 As a manager, it becomes your responsibility to make employee development a priority.\u00a0 If your team has remote employees, employee development can become your arsenal to retain them.\u00a0 Most managers end up taking remote employees\u2019 growth lightly and it leads to their disengagement and increased attrition rate. We understand that career conversations are not easy. They require more time, personalized space and more than one meeting.\u00a0 That is why it is advised to keep professional development as one of the main agenda for your one on one meetings.\u00a0 During one on one meetings, you get to know the long-term plan an employee has for himself.\u00a0 You also learn more about their skills, their strengths and can guide them more closely. However, a good discussion about your direct reports\u2019 career requires the right set of questions and probing.\u00a0 Here\u2019s a set of questions for you to begin a discussion about your employee\u2019s career growth in your next one on one meeting -\u00a0 \t \t \t\u201cWhat future are you looking at in the organization by the end of this year?\u201d \t\u201cWhat skills do you think would be required to achieve it?\u201d \t\u201c What do you enjoy the most in your job?\u201d \t\u201cWhat demonstrated strengths can become your asset in the future?\u201d 4 Ask for their feedback Suppose you have a direct report called Tim.\u00a0 Lately, you\u2019ve been noticing that Tim seems to be losing confidence and has become inactive in the team.\u00a0 You\u2019ve tried giving him the pep talk, and have reassured him about his skills; yet, nothing seems to work.\u00a0 In this situation, what would you do? How would you ensure that an employee feels recognized and starts feeling valuable again? One of the simplest ideas of employee recognition is to ask them for their feedback and opinion. In this case, you could ask Tim to evaluate a task and ask for his feedback on it.\u00a0 This act will help him know that you acknowledge and value his skills enough to ask for his validation.\u00a0 Your gesture of confidence in his talent will reinstate his faith in himself.\u00a0 While you could always ask for their feedback at any time of the day, a one on one meeting is an ideal setup to start this conversation.\u00a0 One on one meetings are private and help in making employees feel confident. They would be able to express themselves with freedom and put forward their real opinion.\u00a0 When they can express themselves and see their opinion being given the right importance, it helps them in feeling recognized.\u00a0 So, next time if you feel your direct report seems lost, ask her for feedback on current projects and prevalent organizational practices.\u00a0\u00a0 5 Go\u00a0 beyond regular status updates One on one meetings were conceptualized to help build rapport between a manager and her direct employee.\u00a0 If you want to build a team that goes an extra mile, you need to have a relationship which goes above professional exchanges with your direct reports.\u00a0 Your status updates and information regarding ongoing projects can be left for your regular meetings. In one on one settings, you need to discuss the real person behind your direct report.\u00a0 Your willingness to understand their stance and their ambitions can act as a major motivator and make them feel recognized. In times such as the current pandemic, you need to make yourself even more available for your direct reports.\u00a0 They might be facing multiple issues owing to sudden shifts in work setup and additional responsibilities.\u00a0 In a one on one meeting, you must allow your direct reports to vent out their feelings and assure them your support.\u00a0 While there may be a hundred ideas for employee recognition, all you need in reality is a genuine interest in your direct reports and their journey.\u00a0 Begin your conversations with topics that can help you break the ice. Here are some questions to help you through. \t \t \tStart with a question about their well-being. A \u201cHow are you?\u201d asking with an earnest interest can help you start the conversation in a good mood. \tAsk them about their family and share details about your own. \tCollaborate with them on setting the agenda. It will help them to mention important topics to cover. \tShare stories from your career and tell them how they shaped you. \tDiscuss your failures and encourage them not to get disheartened.\u00a0 Pro tip: If you are finding it difficult to gather your thoughts around one on one meeting, you can always take help from an online one on one meetings tool. It can help you in setting agenda, fixing reminders and follow-up actions.\u00a0 Effective One on One Meetings We built a software that automatically schedules, lets you set agenda, take notes, exchange feedback and track actions \u2013 all in one place. Try for free 6 Keep some time in every one on one to talk about their accomplishments When an employee walks in their office every day, they bring with themselves a hope to make a difference with their performance.\u00a0 Receiving praise and getting recognized from their seniors boosts their confidence which translates into better results. What makes the praise even better is personalization and details.\u00a0 And there\u2019s only one way a manager can make compliments long and honest - one on one meetings.\u00a0 In a one on one meeting, you can discuss the trivial points which made your direct report perform better.\u00a0 The more specific your praise is, the more valued your direct report will feel. When employees work from home, they live in a constant fear of their work being overshadowed.\u00a0 So, when you discuss their good performance and its minute details, they get reassured of their work\u2019s value in the organization.\u00a0 Thus, keeping some time aside to discuss the progress in a one on one meeting is crucial for meaningful employee recognition. Here\u2019s how you can start discussing your employees\u2019 progress in a one on one meeting- Suppose you have a direct report called Tina and she\u2019s become much better at preparing excel reports.\u00a0 During your one on one meeting, you can start the conversation about this topic in the following manner - \u201c hey, I noticed that your reports are crisper now. Have you learned new tricks?\u201d This statement will act as praise, help them feel recognized and inspire them to put more effort.\u00a0 7 Set small targets for your employees Right goals are important for an employee to know how her career is shaping up and is aligned with the company\u2019s objectives.\u00a0 According to research, only 14% of employees understand their company\u2019s strategies and direction.\u00a0 When an employee knows the importance of her role in the organization, she feels engaged and motivated. As a manager, it is your responsibility to help them envision the importance of their task in the bigger picture.\u00a0 The best time to do that is in a one on one meeting where you can explain how their performance adds up to the efficiency of the team goal.\u00a0 During a one on one meeting, you can help them set achievable goals for themselves so that they know where their career is headed.\u00a0 Knowing that their manager is interested in their goals brings about an immense feeling of recognition and value. Thus, ensure that your next one on one meeting has time kept aside for discussing goals for your direct reports.\u00a0 8 Express gratitude Sometimes, it just takes a small but genuine \u201cthank you\u201d to make an employee feel immensely appreciated and recognized.\u00a0 The power of these two simple words have a ripple effect and it shows on direct reports\u2019 morale, enthusiasm and proactiveness.\u00a0 An expression of gratitude shows that the organization cares about them and values their hard work. In fact, expressing gratitude can be a great way to start your one on one meeting.\u00a0 It can steer the conversation towards your direct report\u2019s strength and positive aspects.\u00a0 The main purpose of a one on one meeting is to keep employees engaged.\u00a0 And showing gratitude directly impacts an employee\u2019s engagement, morale and happiness quotient.\u00a0 Saying \u201cthank you\u201d can even help you change your direct reports mood in a jiffy. Let us show you by an example - Suppose you\u2019ve an employee named Rob in your team. He has been working long hours in a project as another member of your team had to take a sick leave.\u00a0 The work pressure is quite visible on his demeanour and he seems to be losing morale.\u00a0 Here\u2019s how you can make him feel better by recognizing his extra efforts -\u00a0 Start your one on one meeting with the following statements - \t \t \t\u201cFirstly, I need to thank you for giving your all to this project. We wouldn\u2019t have reached this stage without you. \t\u201cHey, the management is extremely grateful to you for pitching in. You have set an example for others.\u201d Wrapping up Employee recognition begins the day a manager starts treating each direct report like her mentee and lets them open up to her.\u00a0 Employee recognition begins when a manager ensures that her one on one meetings are productive and contribute to the growth of an employee. One on one meetings are your most effective tool to help employees feel valued, cared for and listened to. All you need to do is take an honest interest in an employee\u2019s well-being and rest assured - you won\u2019t need a list of ideas for employee recognition.\u00a0 PS: Read the full guide to employee engagement for remote managers\u00a0HERE.