How Not To Fumble the Leadership Ball with Recognition

By attending a few of my one grandson’s North American football games, I have witnessed the occasional fumbling of the ball by some overly enthusiastic youth.

This reminds me of the clumsily carried out attempts at giving recognition by organizational leaders. You may have seen some of these awkward recognition plays that never touched down.

Look at how you can best help leaders not to fumble recognition practically or strategically.

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A New Year Is Just Around The Recognition Corner

Here’s a scary reality from the latest trends in Human Resources. First off is that 53 percent of HR professionals have seen an increase in turnover in the past year. That sounds like it might be a lot of people!

Already in America the number of monthly resignations is near all-time highs.

Other research suggests 40 percent of workers are planning to leave their jobs in the next year. The media is calling it the Great Resignation.

Which means those of us in the recognition profession need to support leaders in retaining and motivating our fellow workers. Here are some ways to get in gear for recognition in 2022.

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Top 10 Ways to Celebrate Career Milestones

Your role in presenting a career milestone award on a person’s work anniversary is to create an experience that the recipient will always remember. Managers must learn how critical it is for them to honor employees on their special day.  Follow theses Top 10 Ways to Celebrate Career Milestones and put these steps into practice.

  1. Make managers responsible for milestones. You must assign managers to acknowledge their employees before or on the day of their anniversary. Hold them accountable by following up on what they did and share their employee’s reaction.
  2. Work hard to honor the person. Plan ahead of time to collect information and insights about award recipients to help everyone remember them and their contributions. Allow these musings and memories of years of service be reflective and memorable.
  3. Highlight a recipient’s attributes. Interview previous bosses and colleagues to discover their unique characteristics and attributes. Find out what makes them an excellent employee. As appropriate to the individual share these thoughts in the presentation.
  4. Plan who the attendees should be. Lower year anniversaries are informal and can be their team members or one-on-one with their manager. Longer years of service merit finding out if a senior leader or family members should be present. Always find out their wishes first.
  5. Find the right place to present. Check out your organization’s facilities and see if there is a “perfect” setting to add to the whole award experience. Discover if there are special memories associated with specific spots that could create a unique memory.
  6. Capture memories of this day. Do whatever you can to assign someone else to photograph and video record the presentation. Have a sign in book or cards for people to write their congratulations and thoughts. Or create a video book where people leave messages.
  7. Request the right person present. Whether it is their immedate manager or a senior leader figure out who the best person is to present their award. It must be someone the recipient has a positive relationship with and who they personally respect and admire.
  8. Recognize their achievements. You have the opportunity to acknowledge all the employee has done up to their anniversary date. Let them know how their contributions and work have impacted others and made a difference to the organization.
  9. Treat them like a star. Consider the Oscar awards and treat your career milestone employees as a celebrity, because on their anniversary day, they really are. Strive to turn every service award day into a celebration and not just a presentation.
  10. Connect the employee’s achievements. Make the career milestone recipient’s feel fulfilled by showing them and others how they have lived by the organizational values. Let them know the organization could not be where they are today without their contributions.

What To Do When Exit Interviews Tell You Tons About Recognition

There is an employee in your organization who just submitted their resignation to HR. They have graciously given a month’s notice before they start their new job.

Now it’s time to do some efficient offboarding following the blindsiding of this unexpected departure. One way to offboard an employee the right way is to invite them to take part in an exit interview. Your intent should be threefold. To learn why they are leaving, what we could have done to prevent this action, and support them in their new direction with an open door for them to always come back.

You will also glean some interesting information about how well valued and appreciated they felt on the job. As you compile and look through all the exit interview reports and the recommendations, your role is to gain a picture of your organization’s recognition efforts. 

Let’s look at the exit interview process and the insights on employee recognition you might gain. 

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How Creating Pithy Worded Thoughts Teach Recognition Principles

They define an axiom as “a self-evident truth that requires no proof” in certain contexts (“your employees are your greatest asset; treat them that way.”) 

They define a maxim as a wise saying (“pick a job you love, and you will never work a day in your life.”)

You can teach volumes with just a few words to get your recognition message across to people. And sometimes that is exactly what you need to teach people how to give Real Recognition™ the right way wherever they work. 

Consider the following two business axioms and maxims.

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Helping Your Recognition Programs To Stand Out From the Crowd

It is wonderful when leaders take the bull by the horns to highlight new initiatives like your recognition programs, perhaps new program features, merging of company recognition platforms, you name it.

Have your president and/or CEO become well versed in describing and explaining the features of the recognition programs. Then have your CHRO reveal your program and demonstrate how you can recognize a colleague.

To have your recognition programs stand out from the crowd, you must have leaders who will lead the way with them.

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Where Should I Focus My Time On Improving Recognition At Work

You know your organization has an employee recognition problem.

The last employee engagement survey showed an average of 64 percent for all the recognition statements on the survey. Participation levels with the usage of your online recognition programs are inconsistent with leaders and employees across the organization. 

Open-ended feedback from employees tells you that many employees just don’t feel valued and appreciated. 

Something has to change. Where do you begin? 

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What Are Some of the Most Important Recognition Practices To Use

Several years ago, Dr. Charles Scherbaum, our Chief Science Officer, and I assessed the various recognition behavioral practices associated with managers appraised as being great recognizers of staff.

We rounded up 40 behaviors that recognition experts in the field judged as being essential for managers to give meaningful and effective employee recognition.

I will give you insight into the top five behaviors that you need to encourage and reinforce happening in your organization. 

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How To Use Microlearning To Gain Better Recognition Traction

All organizations struggle with gaining the proper usage of their online programs. It could be HR programs related to benefits or health and well-being, collaborative software tools, or online learning libraries and learning management systems. 

Same goes for getting leaders and employees to access and use your recognition programs on a regular and frequent basis. And then when they do get on to your recognition portal, are they giving effective and meaningful recognition to one another? 

That’s when a call goes out for microlearning! 

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How Different Types of Analytics Tell a Different Recognition Program Story

Analytics is the science of logical analysis. 

Analytics with employee recognition programs use recognition program output metrics, or usage data, and apply mathematical equations, statistical analysis, and computer software to paint a picture of what is going on.

However, different levels of analysis produce a different image and insights. The deeper you go with analytics, the more understanding you gain and the better action you can take. 

Consider the following observations. 

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