To Kudo, Or Not To Kudo

When a peer does something great there are many ways to acknowledge their behavior: a pat on the back, verbal feedback, adding to a kudo board, or using a recognition system like Bonusly. I reached out to our team to find out how they prefer to acknowledge great work.

How do you prefer to acknowledge great work? Why?

Alex Hardin

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I prefer a simple verbal comment as soon after the behavior as possible. It seems to be more impactful when the memory of the particular behavior is fresh in my mind as well as the mind of whoever is receiving the feedback. When doing this I believe it is important to be as specific as possible so that the feedback receiver knows what to do or not do again in the future. For instance, instead of a generic "nice job," I would rather say, "nice job relating our value proposition to the client's specific need.”

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Jeff Bubolz

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Acknowledging great work or work that could be improved should be done in the same way, with short feedback loops. It is important to acknowledge people when the event happens worth acknowledgement. Feedback that waits for annual reviews or end of project retrospective has little to no value. People rarely remember the details of what they did and so encouraging the great behavior is lost if you wait too long to recognize it. If you want to encourage or discourage behaviors on your team, timing is key.

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Tyler Evert

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Regardless of the medium, I would foster a team culture that encourages teammates to congratulate each other, and *not* have leaders congratulating individuals. This is good for a couple of reasons – first, teammates are the ones who are most likely to spot and understand important contributions. Second, the act of giving kudos is not a one-way act of bolstering – it also draws trust the other direction. So keeping that interaction purely within the team keeps the team’s relationship strong. While it is important that people feel valued by their leaders and their company, it’s better to recognize that on a team level to avoid problems with unsung heroes, preferential treatment (real or perceived), and firefighter’s syndrome.

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Beth Jagodinsky

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Providing honest and thoughtful praise/feedback to peers contributes to a positive, driven culture within an organization. When you acknowledge a team member’s contribution and take a moment to say ‘thank you’ it can really go a long way. I prefer to tell the individual in person and be specific - let them know why what they did was great and how it helped me or the business succeed. Taking the time to tell someone directly how they helped make a task easier or how their efforts helped close a new deal allows them to understand the impact and purpose of their contribution. If the praise can’t be done in person, giving a shout out via another channel like email, company chat or in a team meeting may be appropriate. Fostering a culture of continuous feedback and frequent praise will build confidence in team members and encourage each of them to provide praise to one another. There is a great TED talk by Drew Dudley on ‘Everyday Leadership’ and how you can greatly impact someone’s life with a simple conversation. Check it out – it is extremely powerful!

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Owen Strombeck

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When I notice a peer doing a great job I will find a moment to talk with them one on one and tell them that I noticed and how much of an impact it made. I think that by acknowledging it to them and especially explaining “the why” to them not only makes them feel appreciated, it also reinforces that positive behavior for the future. It is important not only for great work to be noticed - but for the person doing it to know that it is being noticed!

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Jeff Maleski

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An approach that I stole from a colleague a while ago was to deliver a card. Every time someone has delivered a card to me in a sign of appreciation I’ve kept it. In fact, I still have my first one from my job almost 12 years ago now and it still brings me immense joy to think back about how valued I felt that my bosses (a husband and wife duo) took the time to recognize me and write their words of appreciation. Even a simple card, a coworker literally had grabbed a Centare card beforehand and scribbled some words of appreciation, meant quite a bit to me and I kept it. Not every action requires a card of course, but when someone steps up or goes out of their way I think it deserves this type of recognition.

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Will you give your peer kudos next time they do something great? How?

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