Developing an Amazing Mindset for Authentic Recognition

How you think and feel about recognition actually influences your giving authentic recognition to people.

Yes, your beliefs and attitudes about employee recognition will determine whether you give recognition or not. They will also influence the perceived degree of authenticity your recognition expressions and actions will have on your intended recipients.

The beautiful thing about all of this, is that creating an amazing mindset for authentic recognition is totally in your control.

And here’s how you can do it. (more…)

Recognition Tip #41: Give great gimmicky gadgets.

You likely will find these nifty gadgets in the most unusual of places. You might be at a country market or specialty gift store. Check out Pinterest for unique home, office, and technology gadget and gizmo ideas you can buy online. Some things are just a respectful joke or toy items to be played with. Others are quite original and useful. Make sure to accompany any gadget gifts you give people with a fun and acknowledging message. All work and no play can make us all a little dull at times!

 

What Direction Do Your Leaders Want You To Take?

You typically have leaders who either (1) “get it” as far as understanding the importance of employee recognition and who support you, or (2) those who are totally out in left-field and even become detractors of recognition.

To give a small indication of this challenge, this year’s WorldatWork Trends in Employee Recognition Survey revealed the highest responded reason for not offering employee recognition programs, with 28 percent, was “no support from senior management”.

My own research in the public sector revealed 93 percent of managers stating senior management involvement with recognition was important, while the reality was only 21 percent were ever involved with recognition programs.

In the Bersin and Associates’ “The State of Employee Recognition 2012” they found 80 percent of senior leaders believed employees were recognized at least on a monthly basis. That’s their belief.

Frontline evidence from the same report showed 40 percent of managers and only 22 percent of individual contributors reported their peers were recognized on a monthly or more frequent basis.

Yet you are expected to receive direction from senior leaders on the course of action you’re to take with employee recognition when they might not understand the positive value of employee recognition.

As a manager or owner of employee recognition what are you supposed to do? (more…)

So You Have A Recognition Strategy. Now What?

People are getting pretty excited and energetic lately about creating recognition strategies. And for that I am grateful.

Slowly, but surely, more and more business leaders are creating written recognition strategy documents that outline their ideal recognition practices, the recognition programs they feel they need, and an outline of their purpose for recognition, along with any philosophy and principles to guide everyone on giving effective and meaningful recognition.

What follows, of course, is the need for setting short-term and long-term objectives, and creating a plan to address strengths and areas requiring improvement with both recognition practices and recognition programs.

No company I have worked with so far, or had the pleasure of viewing their identified recognition best practices, is perfect at recognition. Every organization can stand to improve recognition in some way or another.

So we are going from the premise that you’ve already written up a recognition strategy document.

Now, what do you do first? (more…)

Top 10 Powerful Ways to Save Your Recognition Budget

 

When talking about recognition and rewards programs the word “budget” is sure to come up. There are few owners of corporate recognition programs who have not dealt with one cut or another over their lifetime. This month I asked 10 seasoned practitioners responsible for recognition programs for their budgeting advice. Their wisdom gives you the Top 10 Powerful Ways to Save Your Recognition Budget.

  1. Get strategic with your recognition budgets. Look at the different types of recognition programs and initiatives available to you and budget where you will gain the greatest business impact and positive response from people. Align recognition to achieve strategic initiatives and let the culture drive recognition.
  2. Measure recognition program effectiveness. Consistently measure both program usage metrics as well as employee perception of recognition effectiveness to learn which employees and where are being impacted the most. Move beyond just reports to actually analyzing the data and correlating with your KPI’s.
  3. Create a sustainable program budget. It is critical to create the business case for your recognition program budget that is sustainable year over year by your senior leaders. With a sustainable budget you can more likely add to it to than becoming the recurring target for being cut whenever financial problems arise.
  4. Build in internal and external accountability. Assign recognition and rewards budgets to each departmental leader and use the program data to hold them accountable. Hold external providers accountable by checking regularly on program usage and spend to reduce costs where programs are not having an impact.
  5. Do a reality check on program equality and accessibility. Correct expectations and educate leaders when not all employees are getting the same benefit of recognition as others do. Programs need to be accessible to all parties even if the criterion needs to be established differently for the various business units.
  6. Research everything and do your homework. Keep up with the latest research findings from professional associations, conference boards, academic institutions and consultants. Mesh their data with results you are getting from your programs. Do interviews and focus groups to collect internal data and compare findings.
  7. Prioritize and shake things up. Money has an amazing way of adjusting your priorities. Nice to have must take second place to need to have when budgets are tight. If stuck too much to the tried and true, a revised recognition strategy may dictate a shake up to achieve more meaningful business and people goals. 
  8. Demonstrate program impact and ROI. Leaders always want to know the results they get from the money they have invested. All recognition programs must demonstrate some form of business impact and where feasible a calculated Return on Investment. Sometimes the benefit is relational and keeping good people happy.
  9. Be transparent with everyone across the company. When recognition budgets are targeted for cuts it is every leader’s problem not just HR. Tell leaders the needs and brainstorm ideas. Gain everyone’s support for keeping recognition and doing it differently. Don’t work in isolation and be open to employee input as well.
  10. Collaborate inside and outside the organization. Ask your fellow leaders across the organizations for ways to save money and use internal resources for typically outsourced work. Shorten length of conferences or award events. Use less expensive award items. Be candid with your vendors and get their input too.

 

Previously published in Incentive Magazine, January 2016

You’ve Got To Really Know What You’re Thanking People For

Never give a person an empty thank you.

You may have experienced the kind of thank you I’m talking about at some point in your life.

What is an empty thank you?

This is when a manager or immediate supervisor thanks an employee without being fully aware of all that was involved with the task being acknowledged. It is hollow gratitude and means very little or nothing at all. (more…)

Thinking About Recognition In A Completely Different Way

I want to help you get unstuck about employee recognition. In fact, I want you to think about recognition in a completely different way.

But first I want to give you a quick orientation to the world of employee recognition.

Then I promise you that I will give you that new point of view. Okay? (more…)

Recognition Tip #40: Build in consistent, one-on-one, feedback time.

By holding frequent one-on-one meetings with each of your staff you will capture great examples of performance that merits immediate or formal recognition. This will also give you an opportunity to get to know your team members better and understand their personality and recognition preferences. Remember recognition is strengthened when you build positive relationships.

How To Get the Low Down on Your Recognition Program Metrics

It is essential for you to know your recognition program data so you can understand how to use this data to leverage the results for elevating your performance and people metrics.

Too often I get asked about best practices in various aspects of recognition practices and programs. The problem is, whenever I see a best practice it likely took the professionals in that company 2 or 3 years to get where they are today.

For you to simply copy what they are doing right now immediately puts you behind the times the minute you start to do what they are doing.

So don’t compare yourself too closely with your competitors or other industry leaders.

I am going to take you on a reality check regarding your recognition program metrics. Then we’ll see what we can do with the numbers. (more…)

How To Be a Leader With A Grateful Heart

When was the last time you saw the word “gratitude” in your company’s leadership development curriculum?

I know. I haven’t seen it in any either.

But having a leader who can lead with a grateful heart would be a phenomenal leadership trait for rallying recognition around.

Leadership consultants Kevin and Jackie Freiberg say, “Gratitude is a sign of wisdom and maturity, a hallmark of confident humility.”

Too often we are trying to develop leadership skills and forget about the underlying leadership traits that intrinsically drive a person to be a leader no matter what their role or whether they even have a title within the organization.

Let’s explore what it really takes to be a leader who has a grateful heart. (more…)