I think leaders underestimate the great value employees place in their presence at employee award events. Their genuine charisma and celebrity-like status truly add to employees’ feelings about attending award ceremonies.
Consider the following pointers that your leaders can do to make award events shine.
1. Connect well beforehand. Employees should see their leaders the same way off stage as they do when they’re on stage. Leaders should act no differently in the hallway, on public transportation, or on the award presentation platform. It should be just as comfortable to say hello to a leader on the elevator as to greet them on stage with a handshake and receive an award from them.
2. Be fully present. When you’re in the room, be in the room. Leaders must leave strategic and business challenges behind in the office before entering the awards venue. An awards ceremony is a place for leaders to be with their people and represent everything that’s positive about the company. This means leaders show up early to review plans and ensure all is running smoothly, even when they’re not in charge. They engage with everyone in a meaningful way.
3. Know your employees. Leaders should work with their assistant to create profiles and a list of contributions for each employee receiving an award. They can review this list at least two-weeks prior to the actual event. There may be additional information the leader wants to collect ahead of presenting certain employee awards. This allows for spontaneous comments when talking with employees before, during, and after the event.
4. Circulate with employees. Leaders should not stay with the C-suite team they work with every day. It’s time to get out and be with the employees. Join staff in conversation and ask questions about their work and the company. Invite employees to ask the leader questions and to answer them candidly. Other leaders can also spread out and mingle at different tables or sit with employees in other seating arrangements.
5. Be well prepared. Work with the recognition awards event planner to review the agenda, understand the role expected of them as a leader, and the overall purpose and objectives to be achieved from the awards event. Make sure the leader knows the names of all the organizers and players involved in making the awards event a success. Leaders typically like to thank and commend people who have made company employees feel valued and appreciated.
6. Connect again afterward. Leaders can help make award winners feel like stars after the event by reaffirming their respect and appreciation for employees’ contributions. When they see award-winning employees in meetings or other places, they can converse about the event with them. Leaders can also work with their assistants to craft a personalized letter of recognition sent after the awards ceremony. They can accompany the letter with a nicely framed or inserted photo of the leader presenting the award to the employee. This adds a lingering positive effect after the awards event that was started by a company leader.
Recognition Reflection: What do your leaders do that make award ceremonies stand out for employees?
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