The Three Ways Leaders Can Deliver Meaningful Recognition

Originally published in Forbes.

Recognition is one of the best ways to make your employees feel good, reinforce positive habits, retain your best talent and drive engagement. At my company, we define recognition as “an unplanned gesture of appreciation for a person’s actions, results or performance.” Unfortunately, when we conduct assessments and review employee satisfaction data across multiple companies and industries, we often find that many employees do not feel recognized for their efforts. In fact, 63% of employees feel like they don’t get enough praise. One of the reasons may be because recognition is often given in such a way that doesn’t resonate with the employee.

In 1979, researchers Walter Burke Barbe and Raymond H. Swassing identified different learning styles in what they called the VAK Model for Learning. They theorized that people learn in three ways: visually, auditorily or kinesthetically. According to Barbe and Swassing, people are typically more dominant in one of these methods of learning. Visual learners prefer to see or read materials in order to understand; auditory learners process by listening; and kinesthetic learners learn through first-hand experience and by doing.

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