manager ever recognized you in a way you really didn’t
While not by my
manager, I can recall twice where people recognized me in not
the best way.
Each of these
poor recognition events proved the person responsible for recognizing me had
done no homework. In addition, it might well have been the individual
transferring their own preference on to how they recognized me. And, I also
think one was a cheap, quick and easy way out.
is I did not feel properly recognized.
Have you seen
employees disappointed or feeling a lack of respect with how they’re
acknowledged and recognized?
We will discover
ways for finding out how people want to be recognized.
alluded to two occasions where I received depersonalized recognition that meant
nothing to me? Let me share those experiences with you so we can learn from
is important to create a persona or profile of the leader or leaders you report
to for when you need to present to them or gain approval on a proposal. Leaders
think differently than rank-and-file employees. It’s these qualities that set
past talks they have given and check out the latest annual reports to gain
insights about them.
to people who know them the best like their assistants and other managers who
have had dealings with them.
Gather details about their background and where they have worked along with the job positions they have held.
their motivations and pain points that will help you understand their
priorities and how they make decisions.
do you know about their personal life, significant others in their life, family
and so forth? What are their hobbies and interest than might give a human
connection for you to relate to?
will understanding your leader’s point of view help you with your
recognition strategy and planning?
you think strategically about recognition and rewards or with trying to
implement them, do you have a logical order in how you think about them or
I have a bias in that I am foremost a recognition strategist before
thinking about rewards. But I completely understand the place for rewards and
know the value they play in both recognition and reward strategies.
I think there is a psychological and practical reason for prioritizing
recognition before rewards.
Recognition is a
relatively new experience in the workplace and especially using technology
driven recognition programs. Rewards were always recognition’s historical
then is how do you evolve your current recognition programs to be ready for the
ongoing future developments of the future?
As you look at
the past, awards and rewards, especially using money to reward employees—were
viewed as the only potential motivator to increase performance
The attitude was
if you want employees to work more and better, then you had to pay them with
monetary rewards when they performed at the desired level. Rewards were totally
a top-down approach from managers to employees because the whole purpose was
business focused. Manager’s focus was on paying or rewarding employees for
higher performance and then the company will get better business results and
organizations today, there is still a perception that rewards are so much
easier to give than to be bothered with the extra care and effort required
to recognize someone.
A reward in
isolation of employee recognition, especially monetary rewards, only serves to
create an entitlement mentality that relies solely on extrinsic motivation.
organization fixated by rewards and just transacting with employees?
I have seen
where after a poor performance on the recognition measures of a recent employee
engagement survey that the CEO tells all the leaders and managers to go out
there and give more recognition to people.
You can probably
guess why the senior leader asked them to do that. The reason was to
improve the recognition scores on the next engagement survey.
from on high doesn’t work.
recognition to the people you work with for the sake of the numbers is not why
you want to recognize others more.
It is not about
numbers and measuring the occurrence of recognition. It is about giving
recognition more purposefully.
training and education programs work very well. But now and then you get an
educational program, whether in-class, online, blended, or via one of the many
learning delivery methods, that ends up being a failure.
If you were
following the Kirkpatrick Model and the levels of training evaluation, you
might do a Level 3 evaluation to examine participant’s behaviors after the
training. You want to find out the degree participants are now actively
applying what they learned in the training sessions back on the job.
You conduct a
survey to find out what learning participants are doing or not doing with
giving employee recognition. Now you find out that a majority of the learners
are not doing much with the skills and principles they were taught.
What can you do
to correct this problem? How would you handle the fact that your recognition
Effective use of
recognition programs and exemplary recognition practices are always driven by your
company’s organizational culture. Your culture must stimulate the positive
actions you want to see happening to get more people recognizing others more
frequently. Look at these Top 10 Ways to Drive Recognition Through Your Culture
to spark greater engagement.
Leaders need to own developing company culture. They are the ones who can see the big picture and the corporate vision. Leaders must not only drive organizational culture but also align it with the company business strategy, people strategy, and even your recognition strategy.
How leaders act and what they focus on determines your culture. Leaders must visibly demonstrate daily actions of recognition expressions and celebrating achievements. What employees see their leaders positively doing they will strive to emulate. It is much easier to follow good examples.
Establish a strategic recognition team/committee. Draw upon a diverse and inclusive representation of leaders and employees to steer the integration of recognition into all facets of work life practices. Have them flag any discrepancies with positively living the company culture from top to bottom.
Frame the value of recognition giving and start a movement. Encourage a small number of leaders and employees to become ambassadors of recognition giving. Commit them to passionately appreciate people for the great things being done. Show them how to effectively use your programs.
Expand recognition through company networks. There will be leaders and different departments whose people are better at recognition giving than others. Provide them the chance to share through email broadcast, printed articles, and video interviews how, and why, they are such good recognizers.
Evaluate your stated organizational values and beliefs. People leave and change and so do the way things are done. Your company values may need to be evaluated and revised to fit better. Staff must then identify whether their personal beliefs still mesh with the company’s values and direction.
Create unifying symbols of recognition for everyone. Ensure symbols of recognition are reinforced through branding and meaningful program names. Consider using social badges on your recognition website. Have branded tangible gift items available to acknowledge your employees achievements.
Set simple goals to achieve quick wins. Invite people to set realistic goals for how often they will give better and more effective recognition. Use forum pages or online social collaboration tools to share progress. Or post successes and what you’ve learned through your social recognition program.
Influence your culture through learning. Do what you can to create continuous learning opportunities to develop your culture and recognition giving skills. Get your learning development experts to utilize every available informal and formal learning method to enhance culture and recognition.
Call out the cultural expectations for recognition giving. Use all available communication channels to invite everyone to be true to your culture. Ask staff to gently remind colleagues when they’re not doing or saying things consistent with what your company believes. Recognize those who live it!
Previously published by the author in Incentive Magazine