7 Ways to Help Supervisors Give Better Recognition, Too

Your supervisors have more influence on your operational success and on employee engagement than any other group of people in your organization.

They are the first-level initiators for implementing strategic goals, even if they don’t have all the authority to make everything happen.

But one thing is for sure, supervisors interact with your employees every single day. They have the greatest opportunity to observe and recognize the amazing things employees do.

And that’s why you need to make sure supervisors know how to recognize staff well.

Helping Supervisors Give Better Recognition

Following are seven ways to help your supervisors learn how to give more effective and meaningful recognition to employees. Remember, your supervisors were recently in their employees’ shoes. They know exactly what it feels like to not be recognized or valued for their contributions.

1. Encourage supervisors to prioritize their people first and to let their employees know that. Amidst all the job assignments that supervisors receive, remind them to stay focused on putting their employees first. This can lead to open door policy, stopping by workstations when going through the plant, and recognizing staff first on meeting agendas.

2. Show supervisors how to put their job tasks in second place instead of their people. People needs and questions take but a few minutes while job tasks always take much longer. Yes, you still have to build in concentrated work time to get the job done. Have office hours set up for employees to schedule time to meet with you.

3. Teach supervisors basic recognition skills they need and dispel any myths. One reason employees do not receive sufficient recognition, is because supervisors simply don’t know how to give it. Show them methods for giving positive feedback and recognition. Counter any myths they believe about not having time to recognize.   

4. Hold supervisors accountable for scheduling regular one-on-ones with staff. A great way to gain greater productivity and boost employee morale is scheduling a one-on-one meeting with each employee. Supervisor will determine frequency based on supervisor to employee ratio, and the time length can be short. Make these sessions two-way.

5. Commit supervisors to sit down once with each employee and learn their recognition preferences. To give better recognition, you have to know how employees like to be recognized. Find out whether they prefer public or private recognition. Discover their favorite food, drinks, and treats you can use. Ask them how they feel you could improve giving recognition.

6. Expect supervisors to have more interactions with employees to discover more chances for recognition. We often depend on lagging indicators like engagement survey results or number of recognition activities. However, a leading indicator is having more time interacting with staff and then you will know more things they are doing to recognize them for more often.

7. Give supervisors a variety of resources to choose from to learn more about recognition. Developing recognition skills is a lifelong experience. Set up online and offline resources like books on recognition, articles about giving feedback and recognition on your website, and online courses about recognition that supervisors can take to become better recognizers of employees. 

Put at least one of these suggestions in place this week and make your supervisors aware of the things you are doing to help them recognize their staff better and more often.

Recognition Reflection: What are you doing to integrate recognition practices into your training and development curriculum?

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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