by Roy Saunderson | June 02, 2015
In working with managers from 13 countries, whether at home base in North America, or in Europe, the Middle East, or Asia, I always hear that "time" -- or the lack of it -- is always the No. 1 shared reason for not giving recognition to employees. Since we all have the same amount of time, and because time management is more about self-management, this week's Top 10 list is all about taking advantage of time to get recognition right.

1. Timely recognition always rules. Immediate acknowledgment of people is seen as priceless. Otherwise, you only have a 24-hour window of opportunity to take advantage of and give recognition they would say is still meaningful. Time is running out after that for you to apologize for being late and recognize them.

2. It only takes a few seconds. While time is the reason often given for NOT giving recognition, it really takes less than a minute to express some sincere thanks and appreciation. Don't let time be the excuse when it really involves your mindset. The need to value people's contributions and take action to show them you care is important.

3. Recognition for different times. Generational differences often hinder people from giving people of different ages the recognition they deserve. They key is simply finding out personal preferences, the style of recognition they like and within your abilities and means honoring them the best way you can.

4. Calendar their special dates. You will only ever miss a personal anniversary once in your life! There are dates in people's lives that are positive memory triggers. Find out their personal and workplace anniversaries and plug them in with enough planning time to celebrate these dates the way they would like.

5. Past, present, and future. Wherever you are now in any of your employee's timelines of work, take time to value their time. Do your best to honour their past by drawing upon memories. Celebrate the present because you never know when it will be gone. Always  anticipate the future and plan to do what's right.

6. Create timeless keepsakes. There is a difference between the plaques and trophies and gifts we keep, and those we hide and even discard. Plan what it will take to make whatever you give someone to be seen as priceless, not necessarily in material value, but in sentiment and personal meaning that will make them want to keep it.

7. One moment in time. Expressing appreciation to people for their efforts can change people's lives no matter how you end up doing it. You can change the course of a person's life with the words you say or write and the simple acts of caring, or the token of appreciation you give to them. Make your time count.

8. Put thought into frequency. This is where you have to put self-discipline in to planning when you will recognize people around you. First, is always when you see something to say something. Second, is scheduling out daily time to reflect, value and express appreciation to people they way they would like to receive it. 

9. Make every recognition act an occasion. We can all remember special occasions in our lives - from births, weddings, to new jobs, etc. Now, try thinking through how you can make any of your recognition moments stand out and become a celebratory occasion that the recipient will always remember.

10. Weekly time out. Make an appointment each week to stop, mediate and think who deserves to be recognized and appreciated you might have neglected during the week. Make a quick visit if you can, give them a call or leave a voice mail message or write a carefully worded, handwritten note to say, "thank you!"

Incentive columnist Roy Saunderson is author of Giving the Real Recognition Way and is the Chief Learning Officer of Rideau's Recognition Management Institute, a consulting and training company which helps leaders and managers get recognition right. He can be reached at [email protected] Also, check out the library of Real Recognition Radio shows.