This is the third post in a series on Embedding Recognition in the Everyday Life of the Company. In Part 1, I addressed integrating recognition into your onboarding strategy and practices. Then, in Part 2, I took up how you can weave recognition into your meetings and learning opportunities.
This post will cover more traditional
recognition moments such as career milestones (length of service anniversaries)
and retirement recognition.
As you read these ideas, evaluate how you are doing with recognition in your organization in these areas, and if there are steps you need to take to improve things.
When was the last time you reviewed your recognition and reward program data to see if there is any tendency toward hidden biases?
A hidden—or implicit—bias is defined as a preference for, or
against, a person, thing, or group, which is held at an unconscious level. This
means you and I don’t even know our minds are holding onto this bias. In
contrast, an overt—or explicit—bias is an attitude or prejudice which is very
much endorsed at a conscious level.
For example, what is the proportion of
recognition or reward recipients who are male versus female, with respect
to your employee gender ratio? Are rewards given more often to one gender over
another? Is there any general ratio between white and non-white employees? Do
disabled staff equally merit and receive recognition and rewards for exemplary
Perhaps we all need to ask these kinds of
question when identifying whether hidden biases exist in our recognition and
reward practices and programs.
If there are certain principles that
keep recognition and rewards open it is fairness and equity.
Nathaniel Branden, author of The Power of Self-Esteem, defined confidence as, “our ability to think and to cope with the basic challenges of life.” He said that “confidence is our right to be happy, the feeling of being worthy, deserving, entitled to assert our needs and wants and to enjoy the fruits of our efforts.”
a lack of confidence comes from low self-esteem, insecurity, and self-doubt.
the work setting, a lack of confidence can affect us in many ways.
And in recognizing employees, it can stop you in your tracks from not giving
recognition to deserving colleagues and employees.
look at various ways to improve the level of confidence with giving effective
and meaningful recognition.
What do you
do when you want to recognize people? What’s the right reward for employees
when you feel they need one?
Recognition, as I have shared before, is mostly an intangible expression of acknowledgment and valuing of a person’s positive behaviors, personal effort, and the great contributions they have made. Recognition is your personal communication and feedback stating how you admire and appreciate someone for what they are doing. Recognition is a gift, not a right.
If there is one concern that most organizations have, and that is getting their managers to regularly and consistently recognize their employees. Developing the mindset of the importance of appreciating and recognizing staff for their positive behaviors and personal effort, requires several steps to make this happen. Start using this month’s Top 10 Ways to Get Managers Giving Recognition to guide you on what to do next.
1. Set clear expectations from senior leadership team for managers to become better at appreciating people for who they are and recognizing them for what they do. Have leaders set the pattern and personal example for recognizing staff contributions.
2. Show managers the truth about the impact their giving or lack of recognition has on people. Capture video testimonials from employees and open-ended survey results that show the positive and negative feelings people have about recognition.
3. Provide managers with insight on their department’s employee engagement survey scores and drill down on how the recognition specific questions scored for them. Any score below 65 percent is a sign that everyday recognition is missing in action.
4. Debunk the myth they don’t have time to give recognition. We all have the same 24 hours in a day and giving good quality recognition takes less than 30-seconds to do. Suggest managers at a minimum start and end their day with recognition giving.
5. Hold regular one-on-one feedback meetings with managers to find out how they feel they’re doing with recognizing staff. Get their input on challenges, frustrations, or problems they have with giving recognition and coach them to succeed.
6. Provide managers with all the resources they need to gain knowledge and insights on how to give better and more meaningful recognition to people. Be this through written articles or an archive of video tutorial content that is broadcast out to them.
7. Give managers in-class and online education opportunities to show them how to give effective recognition to people. You can also do this through lunch and learn sessions, management briefing sessions, or delivering webinars by other managers.
8. Don’t forget to set goals with managers on how they intend to improve the frequency and quality of the recognition they give people. Remember to stay on top of their commitments and hold managers accountable for recognizing staff.
9. Use positive reinforcement and recognize managers when they stop to recognize their employees. Making time to recognize the recognizers is something that often gets neglected in our desire to see more recognition happen from management.
10. Invite managers to share in management meetings about the successes they have experienced when they stopped and made time to recognize their employees. Let their peers know of the intrinsic reward that their recognition had in lifting people up.
Roy is no longer writing new content for this site (he has retired!), but you can subscribe to Engage2Excel’s blog as Engage2Excel will be taking Roy’s place writing about similar topics on employee recognition and retention, leadership and strategy.
The question of when to recognize a
person, or whether what they have done merits being rewarded, is a
common issue especially for managers.
I believe you must start with
defining what you mean by recognition and what rewards are first. Once there is
agreement throughout the organization on these two definitions, you will be in
much better shape to guide and prescribe when to use each of them