Why It’s A Problem When You Say, “Oh, it was nothing.”

What if you have already learned how to give amazing recognition? You are a great observer of catching people doing things right. When you find someone and their actions merit recognition, you seem to express recognition just the right way.

And then, somehow, it all falls flat when the recipient of your recognition says something like, “Oh, it was nothing!”

Negating positive words of recognition from people is a problem. This is something you should stop. Follow these ideas to help limit this negativity. 

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Principles of Learning That Will Help People Retain Recognition Skills

Giving meaningful recognition is all about learning the science behind recognition and mastering the art of practicing this important soft skill. 

A soft skill includes all the attributes and personality traits that help employees positively interact with others and achieve success at work. Recognition is just one of those soft skills to develop. 

What learning principles will help enhance retention of the skills needed to give effective recognition to employees? Let’s take a look at some of them.

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Express Recognition Every Time You Give a Tangible Gift or Award

Sometimes, you and I can fail miserably when we give gifts or awards to people.  

You can have all the best intentions. You checked off everything on your planning checklists and you completed the event tasks. But still the gift or award just sits there. Flat. Meaningless. Non-communicative. 

Just like the service award gift that one recipient had dutifully selected from the online catalogue. Then, only to find it one day still in the original mailing package, plopped in the middle of their work desk. Not a word spoken. Deathly silence. 

Not exactly a meaningful anniversary.

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What To Do When Leaders Want to Cut Your Recognition Budget

Maybe you’ve already gone through a budget cut. If not, it might still happen. And then again, if you’re lucky, hopefully you’ll never have to experience one. 

Recognition programs, like education and training, and other areas perceived as “soft” things, are easy targets to cut.

How can you handle these budget cutting situations when they happen? What helpful advice can help you? 

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Your One-Year Goal Will Guide Everything You Do With Recognition

There are various stages you pass through when using our recognition strategy approach. First, is crafting of a fitting recognition purpose and philosophy statement that is just right for your organization. 

Then comes the identifying of the areas you have to focus on following a recognition assessment. All organizations have strengths and weaknesses. Know where to need to focus your energies to improve recognition practices and programs really helps. 

But before you identify those focus points, there is one important thing you have to do. You need to declare what your overall guiding objective is to improve the quality of recognition for the year ahead. 

Having articulated what this goal is will help your organizational leaders know what you should all be shooting for. And it helps you personally with an additional criterion point to use in making decisions. 

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Don’t Forget to Repeat the Recognition One More Time

This is such an important recognition practice to get a handle on.

Neglect doing it at your own risk. Otherwise, you’ll lose out on your recognition of ever being memorable, meaningful, and motivational. 

What am I talking about? It’s my recommendation that you repeat your recognition one more time whenever necessary. I’ll explain the first time I heard of the problem.

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Tell Me Something New You Have Learned About Giving Recognition

One of the great lessons you can learn as a recognition leader is finding out what other people have learned themselves after recognizing others. 

You can gain this through a self-reflection exercise after employees have learned how to give recognition. Have them write notes in a journal or record them online. Teach employees how to give memorable and meaningful recognition. Then they need to put those skills into practice back at on the job. Follow up with them a month later. You find out how they did and what they discovered.

Ask learners what they achieved with their recognition goal. Ask them to relay exactly what they learned from doing the exercise, too. 

Here are some insights gleaned from some of these self-reflective ponderings I have collected. 

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How To Use the Pedestal and Prestige Effect To Recognize High Performers

I am going to be upfront with you about your traditional online recognition programs. They won’t work for everyone.

For example, social recognition programs, sending ecards, and using typical performance reward programs, will not hit the mark with your high performers, senior leaders, your top salespeople, or other high-ranking professionals.

But there is something very interesting that I discovered about these elite people. They still like to be recognized. Just not the same way as everyone else.

I will share with you what I learned from talking with some of these professionals and high performers.

It became very clear to me that giving a professional point rewards, sending them an award nomination, or giving a $25.00 or $100.00 gift card, was not meaningful to them. They didn’t relate to this kind of recognition

That’s when I learned something very important. Your traditional recognition and reward programs are appreciated by the 80% majority of your employees. But they will not appeal to a private banker, the top pharmaceutical salesperson, or the executive vice president of finance.

However, there are still some tremendous ways to recognize them. And I am going to share two simple methods with you on how to recognize these high performing professionals.

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What a Difference Leaders Make To Your Recognition Program Success

Your leadership team, and whoever your direct executive sponsor is, can really impact the success of your recognition programs.

For example, nearly one-quarter of respondents on a Gallup survey said the most memorable recognition comes from a high-level leader or CEO. Imagine what leaders could do if they encouraged everyone to get on board with using their organization’s recognition programs. 

In a survey I conducted across the United States and Canada of managers in the public sector, they shared how participation of senior leaders was an important aspect of delivering effective employee recognition. 

Examine your own organization and evaluate how leadership involvement with employee recognition plays out. 

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Recognition Does Not Really Improve Employee Engagement…So There!

I know.

How dare I pronounce such heretic claims!

Many in the recognition industry parlay about what people “said,” or what others have “seen,” on one survey or another, suggesting to the world that recognition improves employee engagement.

Some consultancy firms indicate where recognition “occurs,” whatever that means, that organizations have better employee engagement as well as improved key performance metrics. Recognition industry vendors indicate how many managers or employees “say” recognition made so many things totally awesome, such as employee engagement.

But what “people say” on a survey is not exactly sufficient proof.

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