Over the years I
have helped several large organizations in facilitating a team of their leaders
in developing a written recognition strategy. The challenge I face after they
have completed a recognition strategy session is leaving the owners of the
strategy document with instructions on how to implement it and then see them
make it happen.
recognition strategies become glorified documents that a manger or leader can
now say they have a written recognition strategy whenever someone asks.
But if you don’t
implement a strategy and plan then nothing ever changes.
Years ago when I
was leading a church congregation I invited a member to meet with me to discuss
a matter involving their publicly disciplining some of our youth. Ironically,
this individual also wanted to meet with me to discuss a different
We met that
evening, and I allowed them to start with their subject first. Afterward I
dealt with the more sensitive subject I had on my agenda. I can only tell
you it didn’t go over very well. In fact, they didn’t talk to me
for several weeks after.
However, I can
tell you I learned a very important lesson from that experience. And that
is, never mix agendas.
If someone wants
to see you about something, let that be the sole purpose for the meeting. Don’t
add something you have on your mind to the meeting.
In a similar
vein, never mix agendas with your employee recognition strategy either. Stay
focused on creating a recognition strategy all by itself and add nothing else.
are a lot of ways where you can make onboarding of new employees an exciting
time of welcome and recognition for them.
doesn’t have to be a very expensive process. By making a committed attempt to
acknowledge each new employee and celebrate their coming on board, you’ll be
going a long way to engaging new employees and encouraging them to stay and be
loyal to the people and organization.
about how you can make your employee welcome even more meaningful by
integrating employee recognition practices and programs.
are challenging things that people in corporations experience and one of
those times is when there is a merger and acquisition with another company.
affects people in so many ways and it can impact how you will proceed with
recognition and rewards.
that consulting firm McKinsey and Company found that “95 percent of
executives describe cultural fit as critical to the success of integration
following a merger. Yet 25 percent cite a lack of cultural cohesion and
alignment as the primary reason integration efforts fail.”
culture right is obviously critical after a merger.
he’s referring to here is that change is situational, as in the case we’re
discussing here with a merger. But transition is “the psychological process
people go through to come to terms with the new situation.” Thus change is
external and transition is internal.
In my training
sessions I ask managers in attendance different questions to help them get
grounded about employee recognition. I also want to discern how aware they are of
the impact a lack of recognition has on their employees.
What I can
assure you is, a large majority of managers already know that unrecognized
employees are at risk.
The most common
factor identified is that unrecognized employees will lack motivation, are demotivated, or have no motivation
at all. This leads to underperformance or low performance.
realize that when employees are
not appreciated it will frustrate them, they become unhappy, and could well be looking for another job so are
at risk of leaving the company.
research by Dr. Jean-Pierre Brun at the Université Laval in Quebec City, found
that the absence of employee recognition is the second leading cause of
workplace burnout and stress, right after workload.
Recognition is a
positive form of expression and meaningfully conveyed through the eyes. They
have described our eyes as “the windows to the soul.” Using appropriate eye
contact, when in the right country, can be a great behavioral skill and
enhancer to improving the recognition you give to people.
Your eyes can
become a great connecting force with recognition giving.
A subscriber of our Authentic Recognition blog suggested I should
write about the difference between
recognition (more related to work) versus appreciation (more related to the
I asked them why this topic was
important right now. It seems their organization uses the Gallup Organization’s
Q12 engagement survey every two years. In the past year they focused on the
recognition specific question/statement #4, “In the last seven days, I have
received recognition or praise for doing good work”.
Her research, like many of us have found, led her to see that
“recognition in the workplace” has so many meanings.
She wisely observes that “people fundamentally want to be
‘understood and cared for’ or ‘appreciated’ and would prefer that over ‘recognition’”
She asked for my thoughts on the
differences between recognition and appreciation. Apparently, her
organization will likely continue with using recognition. However, she wonders
if more time should be spent on appreciation instead of recognition in order to
improve the Gallup survey scores.
companies launch recognition programs and they don’t exactly light up the sky
and shine, as they should.
For a variety of
reasons you might not have gotten the engagement and traction you thought you
would when you designed and developed your organization’s recognition program.
You thought you got everyone’s input and their buy in, and
foundational things can stop recognition program engagement whether it’s access
to technology, the nature of the work of most employees, or simply a
lack of respect thinking employee recognition is unimportant.
But let’s look
at what needs to be in place to engage your managers and employees with your
employee recognition programs.
I have traveled around the world
and presented or consulted with managers and leaders from 14 countries across a
variety of industries on the subject of giving meaningful and effective
Yet, in all these situations there
was a common problem experienced by many of these managers and leaders.
Many of them were uncomfortable
with giving recognition to peers or employees.
I have heard a long litany of
reasons for their apparent discomfort. Perhaps by examining the different
reasons people give for their discomfort we can learn what we can do to rectify
these situations and become more comfortable in recognizing those we work with.