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.
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.
already know the power of employee recognition. But not everyone is like Vineet
However, what all leaders want to know about recognition is four major points about the programs and practices that you are overseeing.
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?
is important to create a persona or profile of the leader or leaders you report
to for when you need to present to them or gain approval on a proposal. Leaders
think differently than rank-and-file employees. It’s these qualities that set
past talks they have given and check out the latest annual reports to gain
insights about them.
to people who know them the best like their assistants and other managers who
have had dealings with them.
Gather details about their background and where they have worked along with the job positions they have held.
their motivations and pain points that will help you understand their
priorities and how they make decisions.
do you know about their personal life, significant others in their life, family
and so forth? What are their hobbies and interest than might give a human
connection for you to relate to?
will understanding your leader’s point of view help you with your
recognition strategy and planning?
Whenever I visit
an organization that has senior executives who are exemplary recognizers,
it’s a whole different ball game. Leaders who know and understand the
importance of recognition really drive the rest of the organization in making
leaders have set an expectation that giving good recognition is part of the way
their organization does things. They are visionary leaders who lead their
organizational culture and acknowledge people who live the values. They are
purpose driven. These leaders are present at as many recognition and award
events as they possibly can. And if they cannot attend, they will
assign another top recognizing leader.
Leaders who are
on board with recognition see it as the right thing to do for their people.
They have also seen the benefit that comes to the organization when you treat
your people with respect and value them and their contributions.
Looking at their
recognition strategy (note, they have one) you will find their C-suite
leaders endorse it fully in word and deed. And that includes budgetary support,
leadership actions and reinforcing management accountability on all
strategic recognition initiatives through performance management and feedback.
See if your
leaders demonstrate any of the following attributes as recognition
Do any of you remember the Sesame Street TV show and the song People in Your Neighborhood? Perhaps I’m dating myself.
The lyrics of the song started with:
“Oh, who are the people in your neighborhood?… and concluded with…The people that you meet each day.”
Bob McGrath, one of the few human actors on the show among the many puppet characters, sang the song with one of the puppets and then they would identify the different people that helped make their Sesame Street neighborhood. Various puppets appeared representing the postman, firefighter, grocery store owner, barber, and doctor, etc.
Many times I am asked how to get senior leaders involved with recognizing and appreciating their employees. Or how to engage them in accessing their online recognition programs to acknowledge or nominate staff.
Sometimes I feel if the leaders don’t “get it” about the importance of recognizing employees, maybe those who manage recognition at the organization should let the natural consequences take their course.
The real recognition leaders in your organization are most often the people that you meet each day in your “neighborhood” at work.
Two magazines arrived on my desk within weeks of one another and both highlighted “feedback” on their cover articles. Then I received an email inviting me to attend an online presentation about moving from feedback to action. Looks like the topic of feedback was on my radar.
Some of us have a hard time giving feedback and even receiving feedback.
“Can I give you some feedback?”
Do you cringe at that question? Or do you look forward to discussions following that question? You and I can react so differently depending on the source of the feedback, your current work and life status, and what exactly you are being critiqued about.
You’ll hear a comment from a leader questioning the import of your wanting to create a recognition strategy. Another leader glosses over the latest engagement survey results and states that 56% percent on the recognition questions is good, isn’t it? These are all real scenarios.
Now I am well aware this does not describe all leaders. But there are enough to cause concern.
A few of them don’t understand why some employees are complaining about a lack of recognition. They think they pay their employees well and they have good jobs. What more can they want?
Sounds like it’s time to let your leaders know what it feels like to be unrecognized.
It takes a certain person to rise up the ranks and become a senior leader in an organization. Some have exceptional interpersonal skills and enjoy being with people and are good at interacting with others. There are others who became leaders because of their exceptional skills or expertise in various administrative and professional areas.
However, giving meaningful and effective recognition is a competency skill all leaders should develop even if they don’t see recognition as important. A Quantum Workplace study on 7 Employee Engagement Strategies found only 11.8% of organizational representatives put employee recognition as a top people priority.
Your role as a leader of recognition is to create better leadership awareness of the importance of employee recognition. Help your leaders know how to deal with the reality that happens when employees do not feel recognized. (more…)
It was Alexander Pope who penned the phrase, “to err is human; to forgive, divine.” But it can be very hard on employees when a senior leader or manager botches up their personal recognition experience.
You’re often left to pick up the pieces, make amends, placate upset employees, or otherwise fix the recognition mistake that the leader made. You can’t always correct a leader right away.
What can you as a recognition manager or practitioner do to prevent any further recognition mess-ups? (more…)
Senior leaders are a powerful force for driving recognition giving across the organization. Their attitudes and, hopefully, exemplary practices, become a beacon and benchmark for others to follow–whether good or bad.
Here are three ideas to explore with your leaders to help you elevate recognition in the eyes of all employees. (more…)