There are lots of studies done revealing how leaders are doing with giving meaningful and effective recognition to their employees.
The Canadian firm, Psychometrics, found in their Study of Employee Engagement in the Canadian Workplace that 58 percent of employees say leaders giving more recognition would improve employee engagement.
In my research with the Survey Findings of Employee Recognition in the Public Sector, managers who responded, overwhelmingly stated that senior leader involvement with employee recognition was very or extremely important (93 percent). However, the reality reveals only 21 percent of leaders are very involved, a sign that people who make the organizations run are not seen as important or valued.
Gallup research shows nearly one-quarter of employees said the most memorable recognition comes from a high-level leader or CEO. They suggest that employees will always remember personal feedback from the CEO. When a high-ranking leader takes time to show appreciation, it can yield a positive impression for an employee that could last a lifetime. In fact, acknowledgment from a CEO could become a career highlight.
What we are seeing is the need for senior leaders to become better at giving recognition. Let’s explore some ways for getting there.
Getting Leaders Engaged With Recognition
Here’s how you can get your leaders more involved in giving better and more frequent recognition to more people.
Challenge your leaders in your one-on-one meetings with them to invite each of their direct reports to sit down with them and ask each person one question.
Have them pay attention and actively listen to the answers they get from their employees. Tell them to ask their employees if they would mind if they took notes. If they grant permission, suggest they take point form notes and stay focused on looking their employees in the eye and listening to their answers.
Oh, and you’re probably wondering what the question is that leaders should ask their employees. Are you ready?
“How do you think I am doing in recognizing people?”
Yes, it is the very title of this blog post.
This is the key question your leaders should consistently ask each direct report. Once they’ve compiled the responses, they can review what they were told and analyze the implications for change, learning, and improvement.
Dig Deeper When It’s Right
The above question is broad and open enough to explore recognition from the leader to everyone. Employees can respond and still be candid.
If the relationship is positive and open between leader and staff member, and if it feels right to ask, they could always drill down further if time permits.
For example, another question might be, “how well recognized do you feel by me?
Other questions to consider could be
“What is one thing I could do better to help you feel more valued and appreciated?
This might generate some simple ideas that a leader could implement.
Then there is how they feel about recognition from everyone they work with or in the organization.
“Are the contributions you make in your work valued by the organization?”
It doesn’t take much to ask. Even if it was just one question. Imagine what each senior leader could learn about recognition by allowing their direct reports to be transparent with them.
Now imagine how recognition could improve and blossom where you work.
Recognition Reflection: Do you hold your leaders accountable for how well they recognize their direct reports?
Roy is no longer writing new content for this site (he has retired!), but you can subscribe to Engage2Excel’s blog as Engage2Excel will be taking Roy’s place writing about similar topics on employee recognition and retention, leadership and strategy.