January and welcome to National Thank You month.
While etiquette professionals and books promote the idea of sending
out Thank You Notes,
don’t neglect the behavior of saying thank you too.
They have designated January as National Thank You Month.
This might have originated from the greeting card industry because of
receiving gifts following the Christmas holidays and they want you to buy their
printed cards. I know my wife and I dutifully sat down on the last Sunday in
December and wrote our Thank You notes
to our children. It is a lovely reflective time to treasure and remember what
we have received.
Learn to make saying or expressing thanks to those around you more
a way of life beyond this designated month.
Here we are with another New Year and I want to
share with you the Top 10 Posts for 2019.
I will reflect along with you on why perhaps you and many other readers read these more than other posts that didn’t quite make the top rankings.
In tenth position was the post How to Help a Leader Who’s Not a Good Recognizer. Obviously, this leadership focused article resonated with many of you who need some ideas and help with coaching the challenged leader to become a better recognizer of peers and staff.
Leaders are not always in their position for
their people skills—although they certainly help—and for that reason
they often have more left-brain, executive functioning and logical skills.
Some, not all, need a helping hand to get the people skills down and realize
how important recognition is to the people that work for them.
Most organizations have some formal award
programs going on. But few organizations set objectives for what they want to
achieve from conducting nomination submissions and planning awards events.
I didn’t expect this post to rank as high as it did. It seems many of you wanted to learn how they select Oscar awards winners so How Oscar Awards Nominations Are Selected came in at number eight. Recognition professionals are always looking to benchmark against best practices, so I hope you gain some insights from this post.
The Oscars always share the public limelight on
what people think an awards ceremony should look like. Understanding how the
award winners are selected might help you raise or lower your own
expectations on how you should determine your award recipients.
I think we’re hitting on soft skills here
and how they are not as easy as they seem. Giving meaningful feedback is
something all of us can become better at.
For those of you who haven’t created a written recognition strategy document yet, our sixth ranked post of A Quick and Easy Recognition Strategy to Get You Going should help you out. It is better to have a basic document in place to guide you along than not having a strategy at all.
Make sure you become more intentional and
strategic with your recognition practices and programs. This post’s ranking
probably reflects the need for an easy way to write up a recognition strategy.
The whole preparation and planning required to
make recognition programs successful is not something a lot of organizations do
well. Everyone wants to get more employees using their programs more
I am so glad my post on Why Being Specific Increases the Value of Recognition made it to third place. It validates for me that many of you see the importance and need for recognition specificity. Put this into practice and teach others to do the same and recognition will go a long way to becoming improved.
Recognition specificity is one of my favorite
topics around recognition giving. Intuitively, many of you know it is important
but just want to know how to do it better.
Second on the ranking list was the post on What Your Leaders Can Do to Lead Recognition. It tires many of you to fight the recognition battles alone. You need leaders to step up to the plate and make a strategic pitch for the cause of employee recognition.
A bit of a surprise for me was seeing this post
in number two position. But it paints a picture that we desperately need
leadership around employee recognition.
Be constantly learning the essential recognition
skills and behaviors to give meaningful recognition. Understand the importance
of your recognition programs and humanize your interaction with the programs to
better connect with and value your employees.
Happy New Year to everyone. Become a better real
recognition giver this year.
Recognition Reflection: What insights can you
gain from the usage of your recognition programs over the past year?
Some of us have a hard time recognizing those
around us and especially people we associate with at work.
Historically, people have viewed
recognition as a top-down behavior where managers and leaders started
recognizing employees who reported to them. This likely originated from the
military where senior officers presented medals as awards for specific service
or achievement in military campaigns.
With the reduced hierarchy in organizations
leading to a reduction in middle managers along with online recognition
programs accessible by all employees, they have emancipated the source of who
Recognition is no longer constrained by a
person’s position or title and should be multi-directional.
But there can still be a bias or perception of
who should give recognition. So besides considering who should give
recognition, what about in the other direction? This raises the question whether
some people at different levels of position are harder to recognize that others
A recognition strategy is a written document
that outlines the purpose, direction, goals, and plans, for you and your
organizational leaders to commit to doing, and make recognition giving a way of
life and not just a program.
However, according to the latest WorldatWork
2019 Trends in Employee Recognition Survey, only 49 percent of the surveyed
organizations have a written recognition strategy.
For that reason, I am helping you with how
to create a written one-page recognition strategy to ensure you have something
rather than nothing.
You and I know that there are many employees who
are not getting recognized enough.
To give people the right recognition, it would
also be helpful to know the best person to make this happen. Who do your
employees prefer most to be recognized by? Is it by your leaders, by
their immediate supervisor or manager, or by their peers?
If you haven’t already heard, there are fewer
companies today than 2 years ago that have a written recognition strategy. Wow!
That’s a shame.
According to the latest WorldatWork 2019 Trends
in Employee Recognition, only 49 percent of the organizations they surveyed
have a written recognition strategy. Fortunately, for the nearly half of these
organizations with a recognition strategy, 97 percent are aligned with
their organization’s business strategy.
The surprising thing was seeing how the
percentage of organizations with a recognition strategy declined from 55
percent in 2017 to 49 percent in 2019. I really thought more organizations
would commit to writing one. But, alas, I was wrong.
Why would organizations not have a recognition
strategy? Let’s examine some possible reasons why this
A few years ago, some managers at a particular
company reached out to a Rideau colleague of mine and me to have a telephone
meeting with them. These were young leaders in the making and were part of this
company’s emerging leaders’ program. They wanted to learn more about
employee recognition and specifically about our recognition programs at Rideau.
Later, we were invited to attend an
on-site meeting at the company head office. There we connected with these
managers and their peers from across North America, both face-to-face and
While they were from various departments and
held a variety of positions within the company, it was fascinating seeing
the light go on for them, and their asking thought-provoking questions
about employee recognition.
Their emerging leader program project required
them to seek insights on best practices, creating a recognition strategy, and
what programs would work best for their managers and employees.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every organization
desired to develop their managers through an emerging recognition
to employees versus talking to your leaders can yield a completely different viewpoint about what
everyone thinks about employee recognition.
When Leigh Branham was researching for his book, The 7 Hidden Reasons Employee Leave, he learned that 89 percent of bosses believed their employees quit their jobs because they wanted more money. But when they talked to employees, only 12 percent of them stated they would leave an organization for more money.
Now, what about recognition? How do your senior leaders perceive
employee recognition? The answer to this question determines the success or
challenges you face with managing employee recognition initiatives in your
That is why if you don’t know your leader’s perception about
employee recognition you had better find out soon.
As far as work and Thanksgiving is concerned, everyone will be more excited to leave work to be with family and friends than be thankful for work. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be more grateful for the jobs and careers we have. Our challenge is knowing what we each can do to create a more Thanksgiving attitude at work. Check out these Top 10 ideas to shed some light on this idea.
1. Create meaningful work opportunities. In a recent American Management Association (AMA) survey they asked what people are thankful for at work and the highest ranked item is “the professional satisfaction it provides me.” Check in regularly with employees to learn what could make their work more energizing.
2. Encourage positive work relationships. Next on the AMA list was, understandably, one’s coworkers. Often we stop people from communicating and forming friendships at work. Even the Gallup Q12 measures having a best friend at work. Orchestrate opportunities to have fun, break bread, exercise, play and celebrate together.
3. Make sure each “Boss” is a good one. Never take this for granted because a great boss appreciates and values employees. A bad boss can kill them. Working for an uncivil, toxic boss increases the risk of a heart attack by 17% and increases the likelihood of a stroke by 33%. Stop bad boss behavior immediately.
4. Gratitude is even good for you. Well-deserved thanks and expressions of appreciation make an impact on people’s health. The Institute of Heart Math found Individuals who received appreciation and gratitude had greater harmony in their heart rhythms. Don’t think they are just doing their jobs – THANK THEM!
5. Cut out saying negative things to people – period. In high performing teams researchers found the ratio of positive to negative statements directed from manager to team members was 5.6 to 1.These managers gave 5 times more positive statements than negative. Watch your mouth and be more positive!
6. Develop relationships versus “engaging” employees. When we get romantically involved with someone we build a relationship first before popping the engagement question. Same thing at work – focus on the relationships between people. Look at building a person up and connecting with them.
7. Use emails and social media to be social. We are becoming a cryptic, impersonal society in how we communicate in any form of written text. Use the polite social graces of writing “please” and “Thank you so much! I am really grateful.” Not only will you make people feel good they will more likely help you.
8. When you have a good boss, thank them. Here’s an interesting thought from the John Templeton Foundation Study on Gratitude. They found 74% of people never or rarely express gratitude to their boss. Yet they want their boss to express gratitude to them. Start emulating the actions you want given to you.
9. Never give a gift or an award alone. No matter what tangible form of appreciation you might give someone, always add a card or note to share your feelings and thoughts for the person. Specifically acknowledge the employee for what they have done and share your heartfelt appreciation for their contributions.
10. Start things right with giving thanks. Begin each day with sending out an email of gratitude to someone who has made a difference to you. Put praise and acknowledgments at the beginning of each meeting agenda and have people share the great things happening. If you start right, you will end right.