Embedding Recognition in the Everyday Life of the Company – Part 2

In a previous post I covered Part 1 of Embedding Recognition in the Everyday Life of the Company. There we looked at how you can integrate recognition practices and philosophy at the very beginning of an employee’s career by putting recognition into your onboarding strategy and practices.

For this post, I will address some additional ways you can embed recognition into some typical work structures and practices that go on in most organizations.

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Embedding Recognition in the Everyday Life of the Company – Part 1

One way that recognition can become a way of life in your organization is to integrate recognition practices and the use of your recognition programs into every facet of the lifetime employee experience.

This is the first of six posts that will outlines different areas along the career path of a typical employee, and where you can embed recognition into their everyday life at your organization.

Let’s take a look.

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Why Are You Working So Hard on Recognition?

Each organization has at least one person in their midst who doesn’t get it with employee recognition.

Which is why when I was in a meeting this week with several representatives from an organization I am working with, someone boldly asked me a question related to a person who is likely a non-recognizer. This courageous individual asked, how do you respond to people who ask, “Why are you working so hard on recognition?”

They are asking how do you address naysayers in an organization. They want to know how they should stand up to these types of people and substantiate the merit of the time and effort they are putting into the cause of improving employee recognition.

How do should you respond to someone like this who is negative, opinionated, and sometimes even derails your efforts to make recognition happen in your organization?

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How To Create a One-Page Recognition Strategy

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.

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Why Do Companies Not Have a Recognition Strategy?

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 occurs.

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Where Do You Most Need to Improve Your Recognition?

Whether approaching the end of a calendar year or a time to consider a refresh of your recognition practices and programs, it is important to ask yourself as the recognition owner in your organization, “Where do we most need to improve recognition?”

Often this whole question of improvement follows the review of your annual employee engagement survey. Right off the bat I can tell you that if the average score of your recognition related questions on your survey is less than 65 percent, then you are dealing with issues with your daily recognition practices of everyday recognition.

Looking at everyday recognition, you know this should happen on a daily or weekly basis and impact between 80 and 100 percent of your employees. This is a great opportunity to work on. 

Where else can you improve recognition at your organization? What are some practical steps you can take?

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How to Solve the Recognition Famine at Work

It seems there is a massive absence of recognition in the workplace.

In fact, you can call this absence a recognition famine because there is an extreme scarcity of people acknowledging, praising, and appreciating one another.

Gallup Organization has long stated that 67% of employees report not being recognized for doing good work in the last seven days.

In one healthcare organization I was consulting for I broke the frequency of recognition down in finer detail.

How often we receive recognition can be as important as how and who gives the recognition. I asked these healthcare employees how often they received recognition or praise from their immediate supervisor or manager for the work they do. The statement ended with “at least” and then the time frame statements of daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually, or not at all.

Only 11% of these healthcare employees stated they received recognition on a weekly basis, so well below the Gallup average of 33%. Another 33% indicated managers had recognized them within a month. But there was nearly another third of the employees who said managers never recognized them at all.

This is a crime.

Let me give you some ideas for stemming the recognition famine that might happen where you work.

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How To Craft a Clear Purpose for Recognition

I love reading the latest business books and business magazines that inspire me to think about employee recognition in a fresh new way.

For example, in the September-October Harvard Business Review (HBR) there’s a great article on Put Your Purpose at the Core of Your Strategy by Thomas W. Malnight, professor at IMD, Ivy Buche, associate director, Business Transformation Initiative at IMD, and Charles Dhanaraj, a professor at Temple University. 

Now, as you would expect from HBR, these academics are addressing purpose as it relates to business strategies. But I instantly saw the application of the principles in this article towards creating a recognition strategy.

Are you ready?

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Can You Please Tell Me What a Recognition Strategy Is?

What exactly is a recognition strategy?

When you search out Recognition Professionals International’s (RPI) seven best practices standards you’ll learn that their first standard is Recognition Strategy.

RPI defines a Recognition Strategy as a written strategy statement and plan with specific program objectives, with recognition aligned to the organization’s culture (i.e. vision, mission and values) and the business strategy and objectives. They use a three-dimensional recognition approach of formal, informal and day-to-day recognition practices. This Recognition Strategy document typically outlines the procedures and processes used and the program delivery methods for the various types of recognition adopted.

My definition of a recognition strategy includes a few more features that help make your recognition strategy a working, actionable tool.

Let’s dive in to learn more.

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What Do You Work On First With Employee Recognition?

Lucky you! 

You are responsible for employee recognition in your organization. Whether that is a full-time position or a part-time add on to your other responsibilities, it’s hard to know exactly where to start. 

Recognition Professionals International advocates a holistic approach looking at seven best practice standards:

1.   Recognition Strategy

2.   Management Responsibility

3.   Program Measurement

4.   Communication Plan

5.   Recognition Training

6.   Events and Celebrations

7.   Program Change and Flexibility

Most of the standards above imply recognition programs.

But do you work on recognition programs first? Is there anything else you need to concentrate on? Let me propose another area to think about first.

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