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.

(more…)

Top 10 Ways to Select the Right Incentive or Recognition Award

Choosing the right awards for your various incentive and recognition programs is never an easy task. You want to show employees that their contributions are valued and appreciated. Awards should match your program’s goals and celebrate employee achievements. Today’s employees want more than the traditional award items. So here are the Top 10 Ways to Select the Right Incentive or Recognition Award to help you.

1. Clearly spell out your program purpose. Is this award for a sales campaign? Are you wanting to get people enlisted in your health and wellness platform? Or is this a prestigious award for the president’s excellence program? Awards must always fit the program purpose and performance level.

2. Have employees involved and ask them. Use an employee survey to get the big picture view of employee input. Ask them to prioritize on criteria such as the meaningfulness and perception of various award options. Draw upon focus groups too so you can dig deeper. Solicit the why behind each employee idea.

3. Focus on the meaningfulness factor. Employees are very clear on whether an award item is meaningful or not.  Always add onto the award presentation. For example, who’s presenting the award? How have you orchestrated the total award celebration experience? What elements can you make even better?

4. Inspire and excite award recipients. Does the incentive or recognition award inspire the recipient to do, and be, better? As you explore award items – whether tangible gifts or symbolic awards – find out how excited employees are to receive them. Evaluate the emotional appeal of the awards you’re thinking about.

5. Provide choice wherever you can. Giving people exciting options to decide from is a great way to create motivation. Whether the awards are lifestyle, health and fitness, electronics, outdoor, or experiential items, charitable donations, or gift cards. Think choice! This factor can be especially critical with incentives.

6. Always use quality, name brand products. It can be a real let down when an award gift breaks or stops functioning shortly after receiving it. Stick with brand name items that are top quality. Ensure your award vendor is reputable and has a great exchange and replacement policy. Your award speaks for you.

7. Put symbolic awards on a pedestal. Trophies and medals must be totally representative of your organization. Look at Olympic medals and the Oscars® for what they mean to recipients. Whatever symbolic awards you design must be an extension of the company and your brand. They will become a treasured prize.

8. Think outside of the box for novel ideas. No need to stay with the tried and true award selections. Dabble in creativity such as a customized portrait painting from a family photo of a recipient. Provide an opportunity to learn something new from an expert that the employee has mentioned such as painting or in music.

9. Move from tangible to experiential. Corporate volunteer trips to destinations around the world appeal to younger generation employees. They can build schools or set up wells with water access. This is a fully immersive cultural and teambuilding experience that leaves a legacy associated with your company.

10. Choose your own adventure. Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman made famous the idea of doing things before you “kick the bucket”. Have employees choose experiences that bring joy. It could be skydiving, an amazing destination experience like whale watching in Patagonia, or cooking with a chef in Paris.

As previously published by the author in Incentive Magazine.

What It Takes To Teach People How To Give Wonderful Recognition

Too many people are not getting the recognition they deserve.

And the reason they are not receiving recognition where you work is because the people they report to, and those they work with don’t know how to express recognition to them.

This very fact motivated me to leave the healthcare field and begin a career in teaching people how to give meaningful and effective praise and recognition to those they work with.

Here’s what I have learned on what it takes to teach others to be real recognition givers.

(more…)

How to More Effectively Approach Milestone Recognition

Career milestone award or service award recognition programs have been around for many years.

Over those years there have been the customary plaques, symbolic crystal awards, and gold watches—and these used to start when a person reached 25-years of service.

But as tenure reduced significantly with economy and business changes, and retention of employees was harder to maintain, career milestones now begin at 5 years and 5-year increments thereafter. Today, you will find many companies now start career milestones at an employee’s first year of service.

The reality is, whether you give an employee something tangible or not, they always have a workplace anniversary every single year.

How do you plan to make the next round of your milestone recognition celebrations more meaningful and effective?

(more…)

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.

(more…)

How To Consistently Compliment People the Right Way

How well do you consistently compliment the people you work with for their positive qualities?

To become more consistent and alert to the opportunities for complimenting those you work with requires gaining certain personal habits of communication and a level of understanding about compliments.

Let’s explore this further.

(more…)

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?

(more…)

Make Sure You Eliminate Bias With Judging Awards

Most organizations have a formal awards program that is their “best-of-the-best” academy awards event. These formal award programs are truly the best performance ranking, or earned award, such as the top salesperson, or they are nomination based and selected by a judging committee.

Often the selected jurors are previous award recipients because they know the standard required to become an award winner.

But does using previous award winners as jurors who are peers of potential award candidates lead to bias in selecting winners? 

(more…)

The Best Leading Indicator for Employee Recognition

All of us are striving to help people in our organizations feel valued and appreciated for their contributions and for who they are. We’re also tasked with showing everyone how to give more effective and meaningful recognition face-to-face and with using our online recognition programs.

And the only way we know how well we are doing is by measuring the outputs of recognition through our recognition programs and through employee perceptions on recognition received through engagement surveys. 

But is there another way that you can refocus what you measure that will lead to more recognition giving?

(more…)

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.

(more…)