One of the great lessons you can learn as a recognition leader is finding out what other people have learned themselves after recognizing others.
You can gain this through a self-reflection exercise after employees have learned how to give recognition. Have them write notes in a journal or record them online. Teach employees how to give memorable and meaningful recognition. Then they need to put those skills into practice back at on the job. Follow up with them a month later. You find out how they did and what they discovered.
Ask learners what they achieved with their recognition goal. Ask them to relay exactly what they learned from doing the exercise, too.
Here are some insights gleaned from some of these self-reflective ponderings I have collected.
I am going to be upfront with you about your traditional online recognition programs. They won’t work for everyone.
For example, social recognition programs, sending ecards, and using typical performance reward programs, will not hit the mark with your high performers, senior leaders, your top salespeople, or other high-ranking professionals.
But there is something very interesting that I discovered about these elite people. They still like to be recognized. Just not the same way as everyone else.
I will share with you what I learned from talking with some of these professionals and high performers.
It became very clear to me that giving a professional point rewards, sending them an award nomination, or giving a $25.00 or $100.00 gift card, was not meaningful to them. They didn’t relate to this kind of recognition
That’s when I learned something very important. Your traditional recognition and reward programs are appreciated by the 80% majority of your employees. But they will not appeal to a private banker, the top pharmaceutical salesperson, or the executive vice president of finance.
However, there are still some tremendous ways to recognize them. And I am going to share two simple methods with you on how to recognize these high performing professionals.
Your leadership team, and whoever your direct executive sponsor is, can really impact the success of your recognition programs.
For example, nearly one-quarter of respondents on a Gallup survey said the most memorable recognition comes from a high-level leader or CEO. Imagine what leaders could do if they encouraged everyone to get on board with using their organization’s recognition programs.
In a survey I conducted across the United States and Canada of managers in the public sector, they shared how participation of senior leaders was an important aspect of delivering effective employee recognition.
Examine your own organization and evaluate how leadership involvement with employee recognition plays out.
Many in the recognition industry parlay about what people “said,” or what others have “seen,” on one survey or another, suggesting to the world that recognition improves employee engagement.
Some consultancy firms indicate where recognition “occurs,” whatever that means, that organizations have better employee engagement as well as improved key performance metrics. Recognition industry vendors indicate how many managers or employees “say” recognition made so many things totally awesome, such as employee engagement.
But what “people say” on a survey is not exactly sufficient proof.
And if you have a negative perception of something, it can lead to the concept known as the self-fulfilling prophecy. Which is one reason you must view your recognition programs as being very important.
The online Britannica encyclopedia website defines a self-fulfilling prophecy as the process through which an originally false expectation leads to its own confirmation.
In a self-fulfilling prophecy, an individual’s expectations about another person or entity eventually result in the other person or entity acting in ways that confirm the expectations.
So, if you believe that your recognition programs are important, others will act in ways that confirm the beliefs of the importance of your recognition programs.
Creating a written recognition strategy is not as easy as it seems to create. It should not simply repeat the organization’s vision and mission statements. Nor is it a set of aspirational goals that never amount to anything, let alone try to change things.
Richard Rumelt is the Harry and Elsa Kunin Emeritus Professor of Business & Society at the University of California, Los Angeles Anderson School of Management. And as you can guess, his focus is primarily on strategy. He knows a thing or two about strategy.
Let me share with you some insights I gained reading his book so far and then apply those ideas to crafting a good recognition strategy.
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.