3 Ways to Know How Recognized Your Employees Feel

Many leaders are unaware of how valued or recognized their employees are feeling right now. It’s not always a pretty picture.

The Gallup group suggest only a third of employees they survey through all their client companies actually receive recognition or praise for doing good work on the job in any given week.

I am going to share 3 simple ways you can use to find out how well recognized your employees feel, today!

But first…

Hiding Behind Engagement Surveys

Too often we hide behind online or paper-based employee engagement or satisfaction surveys. These go out once a year at best and ask your employees about the recognition they get and everything else you want to find out about.

Some companies have the nerve to only send out surveys every two or four years. You could have lost several hundred employees by the time you get around to reading the results of such delayed surveys.

And even the annually conducted versions are stale news by the time you get the results and are disconnected percentages at best.

But the main problem, as I see it, is we’ve stopped talking to one another to find out directly how people feel. We have become too dependent on surveys.

3 Ways to Know How Recognized Your Employees Feel  

Let me give you 3 ways to find out, today, how your employees are feeling about the recognition they do, or do not, get where you work.

And, no surprise, they still hinge on asking people questions.

The key is asking employees in different ways other than the typical engagement survey process.

I simply want to highlight the importance of connecting with people in a personal way. Giving recognition and praise is such a relational and interpersonal skill it demands personal interaction to understand it.

Asking Way #1: In Person, En Masse

Recognition is not owned by the Human Resources department. Everyone is responsible but especially the leaders.

Round up your leaders from every business unit and department and get them out in the organization. Have them find, or organize, groups of employees to meet with them. Ask people collectively what is going well with recognition, what needs to start happening and what should everyone stop doing.

Facilitate these meetings and capture the feedback without names. Indicate the process going forward for prioritizing and dealing with employee concerns and suggestions they provide.

  • Leaders can set up shop with groups of employees
  • Cafeteria sessions can be held during breaks and lunch
  • Private meetings may be set up with specific invited employees
  • Town Halls can have an open discussion and PostIt® Note input put on flip charts or bulletin boards
  • Open Door Opportunities for employees to walk in, chat and share

Asking Way #2: Seek Input Online

 I am not against surveying people. The problem with surveys is we have become too dependent on them to deal with singular organizational issue. We don’t go far enough and so you don’t learn the real root causes or solicit positive suggestions very well.

Using technology is still appropriate for us to ask and identify more detailed information and specific ideas and solutions to problems.

  • Draw upon regular Pulse Check surveys asking specific questions relevant to identified concerns to monitor improvement
  • One question polls can be used on a monthly or quarterly basis to obtain new ideas or again measure progress on changes
  • Suggestion box online can be made available for employees to communicate more frequently and offer input
  • Forum discussions online for managers provides a chance to discuss concerns, seek advice from peers and learn new ways of doing things
  • Webinars with interaction provides a learning session addressing recognition. Use polling tools during the webinar to find out current usage of practices and programs

Asking Way #3: One-on-One Deep Dives

It is so important and valuable to have one-on-one meetings with employees to learn more about recognition in the workplace. Strive to do these on a monthly basis about all aspects of work.

The time you invest in these one-on-one session will provide you with a rich treasure trove of suggestions and solutions.

  • Learn what recognition means to each person you meet with. Don’t assume you know what they think it is. Find out their needs.
  • Ask them about the most memorable recognition they have ever received while working at your company or even at another company to learn what works.
  • Find out from what made the recognition they received so memorable to them and what they specifically received it for.
  • Learn each person’s recognition preferences to personalize better for them in the future. Understand likes and dislikes such as public versus private recognition.
  • Ask them how often they like to receive recognition. You may be surprised how varied this will be. Remember that recognition is always a surprise so be careful on creating formulaic expectations.

Question: How do you keep on top of how your employees feel about recognition they receive from you?

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.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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