Who Are the Recognition Leaders In Your Neighborhood?

Do any of you remember the Sesame Street TV show and the song People in Your Neighborhood? Perhaps I’m dating myself.

The lyrics of the song started with:

“Oh, who are the people in your neighborhood?… and concluded with…The people that you meet each day.”

Bob McGrath, one of the few human actors on the show among the many puppet characters, sang the song with one of the puppets and then they would identify the different people that helped make their Sesame Street neighborhood. Various puppets appeared representing the postman, firefighter, grocery store owner, barber, and doctor, etc.

Many times I am asked how to get senior leaders involved with recognizing and appreciating their employees. Or how to engage them in accessing their online recognition programs to acknowledge or nominate staff.

Sometimes I feel if the leaders don’t “get it” about the importance of recognizing employees, maybe those who manage recognition at the organization should let the natural consequences take their course.

The real recognition leaders in your organization are most often the people that you meet each day in your “neighborhood” at work.

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What Makes Giving Feedback So Difficult for Leaders?

Two magazines arrived on my desk within weeks of one another and both highlighted “feedback” on their cover articles. Then I received an email inviting me to attend an online presentation about moving from feedback to action. Looks like the topic of feedback was on my radar.

Some of us have a hard time giving feedback and even receiving feedback.

“Can I give you some feedback?” 

Do you cringe at that question? Or do you look forward to discussions following that question? You and I can react so differently depending on the source of the feedback, your current work and life status, and what exactly you are being critiqued about. 

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Let Your Leaders Know What It’s Like To Be Unrecognized

Sometimes they just don’t get it, do they?

You’ll hear a comment from a leader questioning the import of your wanting to create a recognition strategy. Another leader glosses over the latest engagement survey results and states that 56% percent on the recognition questions is good, isn’t it? These are all real scenarios.

Now I am well aware this does not describe all leaders. But there are enough to cause concern.

A few of them don’t understand why some employees are complaining about a lack of recognition. They think they pay their employees well and they have good jobs. What more can they want?

Sounds like it’s time to let your leaders know what it feels like to be unrecognized.

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How to Help a Leader Who’s Not a Good Recognizer

Not all leaders are good at giving recognition.

It takes a certain person to rise up the ranks and become a senior leader in an organization. Some have exceptional interpersonal skills and enjoy being with people and are good at interacting with others. There are others who became leaders because of their exceptional skills or expertise in various administrative and professional areas.

However, giving meaningful and effective recognition is a competency skill all leaders should develop even if they don’t see recognition as important. A Quantum Workplace study on 7 Employee Engagement Strategies found only 11.8% of organizational representatives put employee recognition as a top people priority.

Your role as a leader of recognition is to create better leadership awareness of the importance of employee recognition. Help your leaders know how to deal with the reality that happens when employees do not feel recognized. (more…)

What To Do When Leaders Mess Up Recognition

People make mistakes.

It was Alexander Pope who penned the phrase, “to err is human; to forgive, divine.” But it can be very hard on employees when a senior leader or manager botches up their personal recognition experience.

You’re often left to pick up the pieces, make amends, placate upset employees, or otherwise fix the recognition mistake that the leader made. You can’t always correct a leader right away.

What can you as a recognition manager or practitioner do to prevent any further recognition mess-ups? (more…)

What Your Leaders Can Do To Lead Recognition

Senior leaders are a powerful force for driving recognition giving across the organization. Their attitudes and, hopefully, exemplary practices, become a beacon and benchmark for others to follow–whether good or bad.

Here are three ideas to explore with your leaders to help you elevate recognition in the eyes of all employees. (more…)

Sure Fire Ways To Get Leaders On Board with Recognition

Some leaders get it and some don’t. There are those who have strong people skills and understand the value of giving recognition well. Then are the others who question the purpose of recognition and the expense associated with it.

How can you guarantee getting leadership support and their personal commitment to making recognition happen?

Think about the following ten steps before heading into a meeting with a leader or your senior leadership team. (more…)

Getting Managers to be Proactive with Recognition Giving

Some of you manage an array of different employee recognition programs and work hard to maintain them and promote them.

While I have written about the need for recognition to be multi-directional in origin and not be owned by managers and supervisors alone, it is still very important to enlist management support.

Your goal should be to get managers excited about expressing recognition to employees and help them prepare to give it face-to-face and online. If you can help them to anticipate when recognition should occur in an employee’s life then they will become eager to give recognition.

Think about the following trigger points to help managers be proactive with recognition giving. (more…)

When Senior Leaders Get In The Way of Recognition

There’s a big difference with how recognition is perceived by people in different parts of the world.

When I was working in India, for example, I found the people there had a preoccupation with getting tangible or monetary rewards. Why? This was mainly because the pay employees earned in India was so low their goal was to meet basic needs. If they could receive any additional money they would take it.

In France, they too found rewards more important than say verbal appreciation. However, this was not for economic reasons. For the majority of managers I dealt with there, they felt that recognition was too much of an “Americanized” rah, rah, exercise. They gave the “touchy-feely” complaint. I had to remind them that I was originally from England, and now a Canadian. I also told them that the recognition I had received, so far, actually felt pretty good.

The irony is, that in all fourteen countries, I’ve been to, including India and France, a majority of employees indicated through engagement surveys that they did not feel valued and appreciated for the work they did. They lacked recognition, beyond rewards and pay.

A subscriber, and manager, from South Africa, raised the concern of how senior leaders would not permit managers and staff to practice giving recognition to one another. They even had a hard time enlisting HR’s help with making real recognition happen in their organization.

What would you do in such a situation? Can one manager impact an organization to make recognition happen?

Following are some suggestions to consider when leaders get in the way of employee recognition. (more…)

Why You Have To Convince Leaders About Recognition

In your role, as a leader or administrator of employee recognition programs and practices, you will often find yourself having to convince, and influence leaders, on recognition programs, budgets, and strategizing recognition.

Human resource leaders, as well as recognition professionals, have not necessarily helped the recognition cause along the way.

For too long, recognition professionals have been relegated to the position of party planners and balloon-blower-uppers, which instilled a negative perception of our role. Senior leaders often see recognition as just trinkets and trash, primarily because of the limited budgets they’ve allocated to recognition, which limits what is available for you to spend. Then there’s the persistent argument, that career milestone recognition is a waste of money because these programs don’t move performance and there’s no ROI from them.

How can you overcome these negative stereotypes? What can you do to convince your senior leaders otherwise? (more…)