How To Effectively Recognize Diverse Employee Groups

What happens when you have a large organization with a wide variety of employee groups? How do make recognition happen for these diversely different employees? Not everyone sits in front of a computer or has an electronic device or smartphone to access online recognition programs.

It all starts with “Why?”

What is your aspirational purpose for giving recognition?

Declare Your Recognition Purpose

Communicate to everyone what your purpose and reason are for expressing appreciation and recognition to one another. Set expectations for recognizing people so they know they are valued and their contributions are appreciated.

Work at creating a written recognition strategy if you don’t already have one. This is your written document defining your purpose and your plan for how to make recognition happen.

Identify the different recognition programs you have whether personally delivered or administered online. Evaluate how each program fits the needs of the variety of employee groups in your organization. Are their online kudos and e-cards that some employees could never receive? What about receiving an award nomination or points? Would they be able to access them online?

Always align your recognition strategy with your company’s vision, mission, and values. When someone positively demonstrates living the values it’s an opportunity to acknowledge them for it. Organizational culture drives recognition practices and activity, which in turn reinforces your culture.

Ensure your recognition practices and programs solidly support your business goals and are strongly connected to your people strategy too.

Focus on Recognition Practices

Cast members, as Walt Disney World employees are called, are encouraged to perform at least one magical moment every day for their theme park guests. We need to do the same thing with each other as employees.

Establish personal and habitual behaviors individually, and collectively as an organization, as to how you will show people that they and their contributions are valued.

How does your organization currently encourage all employees to express appreciation and give recognition for the great things that happen? If nothing is happening now you might want to start with something simple and easy to do.

Create a written recognition manifesto, frame it, and post it on the wall so everyone knows what is expected.

Recognition giving practices could consist of ideas like the following:

  • Have leaders and managers commit to writing handwritten thank you notes to acknowledge positive actions.
  • Ensure your pre-shift meetings and team huddles begin with recognizing someone where appropriate.
  • Share great customer service stories and acknowledge the employees that made them come about
  • Have a bulletin board available to post messages of thanks and to acknowledge the behind the scenes heroes.

Check Up On Your Recognition Programs

Recognition programs are the regular informal or formal, organizational procedures, as well as online administered programs, for providing scheduled individual, or team, acknowledgment, awards, incentives or rewards, for achieving various strategic, behavioral or performance-based criteria.

I have always said that recognition programs are tools for managers to practice giving recognition. Programs should make it handy and easier to give recognition when you’re unable to connect one-on-one with employees to recognize them. Recognition programs are helpful with publicizing recognition and making it more visible when employees are comfortable with this being done.

There are many benefits of recognition programs.

  • Their ease of use enables you to teach many people to use them well and give more frequent and consistent recognition to others.
  • Your programs can be in one place so all your recognition communications and resources are readily available.
  • Programs generate dashboards and reports so you can see what recognition is being given.
  • Draw upon the recognition data and measurements as a way to correlate performance and human resources metrics with recognition activity.
  • Recognition programs make it possible for leaders to hold people accountable for giving recognition.

Recognition Must Be For All People

There are many employee groups that are unable to access online recognition programs and you must provide ways for them to access recognition to keep things fair and equitable.

Typical off-line employee groups might consist of individuals like airport baggage handlers, personal support workers, railway workers, construction workers, roofers, supermarket and retail employees, or mail deliverers, etc.

Identify the different employee groups that you have in your organization. How does the nature of their work expose them to recognition opportunities? Do they have access to electronic devices or computers? Are provisions made for employees to use your various online recognition programs to give recognition or to access recognition they’ve received?

For offline employees with inaccessible technology, the solution is finding ways to replicate your online recognition in an offline way.

  • This can be done through giving branded paper-based cards to express written thanks or recognition.
  • Note cards can be thematically created to acknowledge people living the various organizational values or accomplishing strategic goals.
  • Managers and supervisors can print off certificates of acknowledgment and accomplishment for various reasons and present to employees at meetings.
  • You can also provide branded cards that have bar codes and/or a tracking number on them so managers and supervisors can give specific dollar value rewards or points.
  • Employees without online access can redeem their rewards through any available computer or by calling an 800 number using Interactive Voice Recording (IVR) technology over the phone.

The need for recognition is universal yet individually specific. Different job requirements may limit accessibility to the popular online recognition programs. In these situations, it is essential that managers and supervisors make a concerted effort in delivering face-to-face recognition and building positive relationships with all of their staff.

Work hard to include all of your employee groups in receiving recognition no matter the limitation of their work in accessing online recognition programs.

Reflective Question: What are you doing to ensure all employee groups have equal access to giving and receiving recognition?

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.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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