How To Implement a Recognition Strategy in Large Organizations

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.

Sometimes these 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.

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Never Mix Agendas With Your Recognition Strategy

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 subject.

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.

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Make Your Onboarding Recognition More Meaningful

There are a lot of ways where you can make onboarding of new employees an exciting time of welcome and recognition for them.

It 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.

Think about how you can make your employee welcome even more meaningful by integrating employee recognition practices and programs.

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How To Shift Organizational Cultures After a Merger

There are challenging things that people in corporations experience and one of those times is when there is a merger and acquisition with another company.

It affects people in so many ways and it can impact how you will proceed with recognition and rewards.

Consider 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.”

Getting culture right is obviously critical after a merger.

William Bridges, author of one of my favorite books, Managing Transitions: Making the most of Change, wisely said, “It isn’t the changes that do you in, it’s the transitions.”

What 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.

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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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How To Use Eye Contact to Boost Recognition Effectiveness

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.

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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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Here’s How to Get Engagement With Your Recognition Program

Sometimes 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 then… pfft! 

Lots of 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.

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How To Divide and Conquer Your Recognition Strategy

One challenge with any strategy development occurs after senior leaders have invested their time and energy in creating one. They just don’t give the same emphasis to implementing the strategy.

This happens for recognition strategies just as much as it does for business strategies.

A lot of work can go into creating a written recognition strategy and then it sits there. It’s a nice-looking document that does no good unless someone moves it into action.

Follow are suggestions for implementing your recognition strategy by dividing and conquering wherever you can.

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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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