Are You Really Giving People Recognition on Purpose?

Do you know why you recognize people?

If you haven’t thought about why you appreciate and recognize people, take some time out to articulate your beliefs and reasons for recognizing the people you work, play, and live with.

For me it is about appreciating people for who they are, independent of any work they do, and valuing everything that a person brings with them to the workplace. It’s about recognizing people for all that they do—both the insignificant and the amazing things people do. 

Recognition is about valuing people and their contributions. It is the transferring of positive feelings and emotions from one person to another, in response to an employee’s positive behaviors or actions.

What is your purpose for giving recognition?

Benefits of Knowing Why You Give Recognition

Knowing why you give recognition to those you work and live with provides a focus point, a sense or meaning behind recognition giving. It provides an internal gauge, a passionate regard for valuing people, and an expectation to express recognition to others. 

Knowing why you give recognition will cause you to examine the surrounding people differently. When someone stops to pick up garbage, or flags a safety concern when someone spills coffee, or takes time to talk with a customer, patient, or client, you will feel more inclined to stop and express your recognition to them for what they do.

Consider the reasons why you recognize employees from their point of view and for the benefit of the company. This is not about you from the external perspective. But it is all about you from the internal point of view—how you think and feel.

Top 5 Objectives of Recognition Programs 

According to the WorldatWork 2019 Trends in Employee Recognition survey, the following are the top 5 objectives companies wanted with their recognition programs. 

  1. Create/maintain a culture of recognition.
  2. Create/maintain a positive work environment.
  3. Reinforce desired behaviors.
  4. Increase employee engagement.
  5. Support organizational mission/values. 

Even the recognition programs you have in your organization should have a purpose behind them. What was the original reason for installing each program? Find out if they drafted a purpose statement for each program. If none exist, it might well be a magnificent time to figure out the purpose for each of your programs. 

Using programs with a purpose makes it so much easier to persuade others to use them too.

Recognition Done Personally On Purpose

If you are not giving recognition on purpose people around you will feel it. Your recognition will have no feeling behind it at all because any recognition attempt you make will lack authenticity and meaning. 

There’s a difference with the manager who cares about their employees and those who do not. Employees who perceive their manager as a positive and compassionate individual will highly value receiving recognition from them, over that of a manager who doesn’t seem to care at all and comes across negatively to their employees.

Come to grips with what your personal beliefs are about recognition. 

  • What is it you value about people that makes you want to express recognition?
  • How do you feel when you sincerely appreciate and praise deserving individuals?
  • Do you know the impact your words of appreciation and acts of caring have on people?
  • What are your feelings when others recognize you? 

Recognition Purpose As An Organization

Now turn all of those personal perspectives around and consider what your organization is doing with recognition. If there is no organizational purpose behind your recognition initiatives, it might explain the lack of engagement by managers and employees in praising and recognizing the amazing things going on at work.

Getting recognition to happen on purpose throughout the organization will cause a complete turnaround on the value placed on this social practice. Instead of seeing recognition as an expense, leaders will see how recognition is helping to drive the organization’s growth and performance.

You will get everyone on the same page when you take time to answer the “why” question for giving recognition as an organization. This is especially the case when making strategic decisions about investing in online recognition programs.

Let the organizational culture and your values help you in creating your organization’s recognition purpose statement. Check out your organization’s people strategy and integrate recognition into the organization’s talent management plans.

Your organizational recognition purpose becomes a north star to refer to at every recognition strategy review meeting. It helps with direction and decision making.

As I have said before, when you know why you’re giving people recognition then almost any how will get you there.

Create a personal and organizational recognition purpose statement so you truly are giving people recognition on purpose for the right reasons.

Recognition Reflection: Does everyone in your organization know why they should recognize one another?

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