There will always be horror stories around recognition programs if you don’t start off on the right foot.
And the irony of it all is the challenges most often come with the misnomer of calling these problematic programs “recognition programs”. Problems with errant programs usually lies when using rewards, be they tangible merchandise, cash, or near cash rewards.
So, get recognition programs right so there is equity and fairness with non-monetary and intangible recognition and tangible and monetary rewards accompanying these recognition programs.
There is also a need for authenticity and inclusiveness with the expressions of recognition given to people through your programs, whether this is by text, spoken word, or video. Recognition must be genuine and sincere in both intent and how it is communicated to a person. We should give regard to all employees who contribute day in and day out and not focus solely on the rising stars whose performance always exceeds the standards of most employees.
Recognition is for everyone.
You must make sure you get your recognition programs right.
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.
Bad things can happen when you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Take the scenario of a young man I knew in his twenties making a quick purchase of snack foods and a pop at the local convenience store in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan. Another man walks in to the store. But this man’s intent is to rob the convenience store of cash from the till.
This second man’s weapon of choice was a screwdriver. He stabbed the young man in the head because he was in the way. The stabbing penetrated his skull and brain resulting in motor brain damage as far as walking and use of his arm. But now he could not talk.
All he could say were approximations of consonant-vowel sounds like, “ma”, “ba”, “do”, or “to”.
This young man’s horrific life experience led me to learn how to give more meaningful recognition expressions using “I” talk language. I’ll explain.
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.
What impact are your formal recognition programs having on your people and their performance? Are you designing your best-of-the-best and above-and-beyond award programs to make a difference?
According to the World at Work 2017 Trends in Employee Recognition Survey, 77% of organizations have above-and-beyond performance programs, and only 17% of them have what they termed as formal programs. They did not delineate or define well what they meant by formal recognition.
The Conference Board of Canada in their 2017 report on recognition found that 50% of corporations have formal company-wide recognition programs in place. Organizations that have these programs recognize outstanding individual achievement as their main purpose and organize large-scale celebration events to accompany these awards.
But neither study pursued whether these formal award programs had achieved their objectives or if they considered the award programs effective or not.
Look at the following seven ideas for building greater impact into your existing formal award programs.
Most organizations have a formal award programs that are their pinnacle of excellence for all their employees to aspire to.
You might have these kinds of formal programs where you work, too. They’re often called by a prestigious leadership position the company wants to associate with the award. You’ll hear awards named the President’s Award, Chairman’s or CEO’s Award. Or they may go for a more branded name appeal such as Bravo Award, Excellence Award, or Pinnacle Award.
Both position title or brand named awards, are usually appended with various award categories the company wants people to focus on. They attach qualities or values like Leadership, Innovation, Customer Service, or Citizenship, etc. to the award name.
But for all the time, effort, and energy put into these formal award programs you are likely only awarding around 1% to 2% of your employee base. In larger organizations this percentage is even less.
What can you do to elevate the quality of your existing formal award programs?
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.
Allen Saunders, an American writer and journalist first coined the line “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans,” back in a 1957 Reader’s Digest article.
Sometimes this happens to you and I who work in the recognition space. Things will happen at work by people that negatively disrupts the good you are busy planning with your recognition programs and initiatives.
And nothing is worse than when it is a leader who is the disruptor of your recognition programs and plans.
Consider these tactics for handling the inevitable negative, disruptive leader.
Some organizations will go all out. They’ll have their senior leaders serve up a pancake and sausage breakfast or other preferred food items. Perhaps the cafeteria has free items to offer employees that day which are paid for by the company. Others will encourage managers and supervisors to be vigilant in taking time out for coffee, doughnuts, and treats. Or perhaps everyone chips in to a potluck to share or brings a side dish for a company/department barbecue.
The first Friday of March is upon us. This Friday is considered one of those nationally declared calendar event days called National Employee Appreciation Day. It is not a day off work but one to remember the importance of appreciating employees and recognizing them for what they do.
What will you do in your organization for National Employee Appreciation Day?