How To Get People Ready To Give Better Recognition

If you want to get everyone giving better and more effective recognition to people, you will probably have to educate and train them on how to do that the right way.

However, before you even start any education and training to teach recognition giving skills, there are a few things you should do beforehand to guarantee success. These preparatory steps will help you to get people ready to give better recognition. 

Check out this list and put at least one step into practice this coming month. 

Explain what recognition is and the organization’s intentions. Define what recognition is and differentiate it from rewards. Recognition is any form of expressed acknowledgment and valuing of positive actions, growth, or contributions made. An organization’s intention in giving recognition should solely be to encourage people to become the best version of themselves. 

Tell people where recognition is at. Show everyone what the state of recognition is in your organization. Focus on sharing in small groups or staff meetings the latest employee engagement survey results or pulse survey specific to the employee recognition numbers. Facilitate discussion with staff to hear their viewpoint on how they experience recognition.

Expect recognition giving to be a way of life. Set the expectation that all employees should appreciate everyone for who they are and recognize them for what they do. Rosabeth Moss Kanter said, “Compensation is a right. Recognition is a gift.” Give the gift of recognition to everyone you see doing amazing work and positive actions throughout the organization. 

Give two-way feedback on recognition giving. Have leaders sit down with each direct report and learn their recognition preferences from each other. Make this a two-way process of asking questions and listening. Find out how the leader has given excellent recognition before and when they have fallen short. Learn how employees can be better at giving recognition too.

Create a personal recognition plan of action. This is where each individual makes a realistic commitment on what they will plan to do to give more effective and meaningful recognition to everyone they work with.  What is one thing you can do in a week, in a month, in the next quarter, and an overall focus for the year. Choose an accountability partner to share your progress together. 

Develop an organizational recognition plan of action. Whether you have a recognition committee or administrator, work with senior leaders on identifying and setting goals for improving recognition throughout the organization. Determine the areas or skills to focus on and set quantifiable measures and timeframes to accomplish each of the goals.

Hold everyone accountable for giving recognition. Recognition is not just a top-down-phenomena. Recognition is multi-directional in origin—up, down, and all around. Which means everyone should recognize growth and contributions of each other. Put recognition giving on the competencies of performance management and one-on-one feedback sessions. 

Keep recognition top of mind for people. We all get preoccupied with the jobs they hired us to do. Recognizing people is a way of life, the way you do things at work in respecting and valuing one another and their work. Communicate through every available medium the importance of recognition and provide regular guidance to people on how to give recognition the right way.

Socially reinforce people for recognizing one another. Use the very practice you are encouraging to commend people for giving recognition to people. Stop an employee you see recognizing a peer afterward and thank them for being an exemplary recognizer. Remind people to thank any person who recognizes them and not to negate the acknowledgment.  

Now, you are getting ready to educate people on the why and purpose of recognition. You have prepared your people to be taught how to recognize everyone they work with the right way.

Go make it happen!

Recognition Reflection: What preparatory steps do you take to get people ready for learning how to recognize each other better?

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.

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