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.

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Convincing Your Leaders That Recognition is Easy to Do

Leaders play an important role as recognition givers throughout the entire organization.

However, not all leaders realize the impact they have on people through the simple act of expressing appreciation to people and recognizing their employees’ contributions.

Someone asked me to write how they could better convince their leaders that giving recognition was easy to do.

Explore the following suggestions to make recognition a leadership priority. 

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How To Lead Employee Recognition Into The Future

You and your organization’s leaders must shape the future of your recognition programs and practices by learning how to anticipate the future instead of always reacting to it.

By thinking ahead futuristically you can plan to take steps that change your recognition programs to become the very best.

Here’s what you and your leaders must do to create better recognition for the future.

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What Employees Think of Recognition From Their Leaders

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?

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Why You Need To Know Your Leader’s Perception of Recognition

Talking 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 organization.

That is why if you don’t know your leader’s perception about employee recognition you had better find out soon.

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Why Senior Leaders in The Room Change Everything

Female business executive standing alone in boardroom

Whether it is a strategy meeting, planning meeting, or procurement meeting, there is something special that happens when you have your executive champion present in the room with the rest of your recognition committee.

Managing, administering, monitoring, and planning the day-to-day aspects of recognition practices and programs, requires constant vigilance, self-discipline, and persistence on your part with supporting recognition throughout the organization.

The reason you periodically want a senior leader in a recognition strategy or steering committee meeting, is because they can help you align recognition with the business strategy and give you the vision of where they see recognition supporting organizational strategic initiatives.

Consider some of the following benefits of having a senior leader in your meetings.

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Top 10 Unconventional Ways to Lead Your Recognition Initiatives

Now is a time for unconventional leadership and innovation with recognition and reward programs. Analytics and AI are blossoming in the HR technology world. We need these same tools in the recognition space. This requires a certain type of leader – an unconventional leader. Look out for people who demonstrate these Top 10 Unconventional Ways to Lead Your Recognition Initiatives. They’ll advance the cause of recognition into the future.

1. Unconventional leaders have courage to do the right thing. If a recognition and reward program hasn’t shown any benefit these leaders are prepared to shut it down. But they’ll also expect you to replace it with something better that will work.

2. Unconventional leaders demonstrate impeccable integrity. They’ll want inclusion and fairness with all programs, especially with rewards. They’ll advocate for the receptionist and janitor the same as they would for any senior executive.

3. Unconventional leaders are wise stewards over everything. They’re willing to invest funds and resources for recognition programs over the long term. No one will be expected to do more, or work longer, than is right and respectful of home needs.

4. Unconventional leaders are humble enough to be working for others. You’ll find great leaders are willing to go to bat for you and work with you. They’ll want a strong business case presented and clear rationale for the programs you want.

5. Unconventional leaders simply care for others. Recognition programs are about caring and appreciating others. Besides praise and acknowledgment, they’ll want care shown for the positive and tough things that happen to their employees.

6. Unconventional leaders take on challenges. Why not boldly declare that all employees will feel valued and appreciated for their contributions on the job. It may not be easy to do but they will enlist every company leader to make sure it happens.

7. Unconventional leaders ignore what everyone else is doing. If a majority of companies are using points-based reward programs that doesn’t mean these leaders will follow. They will create the best vision and processes right for their employees.

8. Unconventional leaders lead with leading indicators. Forget about lagging indicators like recognition program usage and participation statistics. These leaders are looking to measure whatever behaviors precede every recognition experience.

9. Unconventional leaders are always dependable. They will lead recognition by example. You can count on them to consistently use your recognition programs. And your employees will always be proud to receive a thank you card from them.

10. Unconventional leaders use persuasion for power. They will never usurp control over your managing of recognition and reward programs. Instead, they will gently steer you in a direction that eventually makes sense and that you fully adopt.

Previously published in Incentive Magazine by the author.

Inspiring Your People To Do Great Things

One element of recognition often overlooked is encouraging people to do worthwhile things that lead to valuing and recognizing someone.

Being able to inspire people to great accomplishments is an ability we should all strive to learn. But it’s an essential skill to have when you are a leader.

Inspiration is all about filling up people with rousing emotions that you feel about a particular cause or action that you want other people to take on. Interestingly, the Latin root for the word “inspire”, means to breathe upon or into, like the pulmonary meaning of inspiration.

However, to inspire an individual or team to action is not a set of behaviors you may naturally have. Sure, some people you know can make this look easy. Yet, inspiring people requires specific skills that all of us can learn.

Consider the following qualities and behaviors to inspire people.

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What Leaders Want to Know About Recognition

Vineet Nayar, an Indian business executive and former Chief Executive Officer of HCL Technologies, is the author of the critically acclaimed management book Employees First, Customers Second.

Nayar says that employees are the clear differentiator in the value zone for helping organizations grow faster and be more competitive. He further states that the business of leaders and management is to enthuse, encourage, and enable employees to continue creating this differentiating value for their customers.

Great leaders already know the power of employee recognition. But not everyone is like Vineet Nayar.

However, what all leaders want to know about recognition is four major points about the programs and practices that you are overseeing.

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Great Leaders Are Great at Recognizing People

You have probably already seen it in your organization.

There are some leaders—directors of departments or senior leadership team members—who not only stand out for what their employees achieve, but who know are great recognizers of their staff. Employees like and trust them and they produce top results because of how they are treated by their leader.

Why is it that great leaders are also great at recognizing people?

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