What Happens When People Are Not Recognized?

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. 

Most managers 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.

In fact, 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.

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What Makes Recognition Different From Appreciation?

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 person).

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.

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Why Are We So Uncomfortable Giving Recognition to People?

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 employee recognition.

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.

Let’s examine a few of these discomfort reasons.

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Can You Drive Real Engagement Through Recognition?

I heard Dr. Brad Shuck speak at Recognition Professionals Conference this past week in Atlanta, Georgia.

Brad’s presentation was about Driving Real Engagement Through Recognition: Applying the Core Principles of Behavioral Economics to Strategy Implementation. It’s a long mouthful of a presentation title but he had some great and valid principles we can all apply to what we do with employee recognition. 

What do you need to do now to prepare for giving recognition better tomorrow?

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How To Transfer Recognition Skills Back on the Job

An area of concern when conducting workshops around learning recognition-giving skills is ensuring learners will apply the learned skills back on the job.

Below are my recommendations I use with participants in my learning sessions. 

Set up your workshop or seminar session so that attendees sit in table groups with fellow learners. Where possible, try to get a diversity of attendees at each table so they’re not sitting with everyone they know from their own department or work team.

Towards the end of the training session the final activity is choosing a realistic and manageable goal to implement a recognition specific skill or principle learned from the session over the next 30-days. The expectation is that you will follow up with each group’s participants to gather team results and compile a transfer of learning report.

This is the best way to get people to apply the recognition skills they learn in training into their jobs. Consider the following steps in making a transfer of learning a success.

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Breaking Free from Multitasking with Online Learning

The 2019 Workplace Learning Report from LinkedIn Learning shows that 59% of companies are spending more money on online learning and 39% less money on instructor-led training.

However, previous educational research has also found that multitasking during educational activities has a negative impact on learning. Will this impact employees taking online courses at work? How can you help staff better prepare for learning online?

We will examine this area of distractions and multitasking. My goal is to ensure your employees can learn recognition skills online without being distracted.

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What Are Your Recognition Strengths and Weaknesses?

How good are you at giving recognition? Do you feel like your attempts to praise and acknowledge people are hitting the mark?

Maybe you are already good at appreciating people for who they are and recognizing them for what they do.

Each of us will be naturals at recognizing people or have a lot of things still to learn. But what is good for those of you, who feel they are not so confident or competent at giving recognition, is that recognition is a learned behavior. Phew! We all have a chance at getting better at this skill, which is a highly ranked need of employees.

Consider your own strengths and weaknesses in giving meaningful and effective recognition. Do you know what you do well? Where should you begin? (more…)

Helping Employees Learn To Give Recognition Their Way

Your employees need to receive clear expectations from your leaders to take ownership for learning for how they can give more effective and meaningful recognition to everyone they work with.

You won’t be able to do this well on your own. But with solid leadership support you’ll be successful.

I had thought about personalization before especially when I think of how to recognize people. With learning about giving effective recognition skills, I can make assumptions about how personalization could work there too. But I had never thought about the term individualization with learning.

For this insight I am grateful to Sharlyn Lauby from HR Bartender for defining these two terms as they relate to training and learning.

Look and see how you can put these concepts into practice to make learning recognition easier and more practical for your employees. (more…)

How To Improve Recognition With A Great Learning Curriculum

When thinking about designing great corporate learning curriculums, here’s what the late Peter Drucker once said, “Our most important education system is in the employee’s own organization.”

However, most organizations have not woken up to the fact they’re also an educational system besides whatever goods and services they produce.

Consider these factoids to give you a perspective:

  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that employers with fewer than 100 employees provided only 0.8 hour––that’s only 12 minutes of manager training per six-month period. And,
  • Organizations with 100-500 employees provided only 0.9 hour (6 minutes) of training for the same time span.

Further, a survey by Progressive Business Publications found only 52% of companies trained their managers once a year or less.

Designing a learning curriculum that will teach people to give meaningful and effective recognition to everyone they work with, looks to be a daunting task. What can you do to change these poor numbers and make recognition a driving force in your organization? (more…)