How To Get Staff To Focus More On Recognition During Tough Times

There are a lot of things the current pandemic has affected with how we use our recognition and reward programs. 

Many organizations affected by the pandemic economically have reduced revenue because of shutting down production, a lack of sales, and the impact on clients affording goods and services. 

The bottom-line outcome is companies cannot always afford to pay for rewards as they normally would.  

People have asked for guidance on how to communicate to their teams the need to prioritize no or low-cost recognition options versus use of rewards in view of the financial reality. They also don’t want to give a negative viewpoint. 

Give People the Big Picture 

Awareness is often regarded as 60 percent of the solution. Be totally transparent with your employees as to the financial constraints your organization is facing. Let them know the current state of the organization and the anticipated time length for which cutbacks will be in place. Highlight the importance of continuing to recognize one another for all that they do to keep things going.  

Show and tell your employees how to use the various recognition programs available to them that are non-monetary. Give them tips and ideas on how they can be more effective by using various principles and behaviors for giving meaningful recognition. 

Educate on Recognition Effectiveness 

This is a great time to have everyone collaborate and share how they are using the recognition programs so you can learn from those who seem to have a natural gift for doing recognition the right way.

Here are some quick ideas to encourage your employees to do.

Idea #1: Comments Plus Like  

If your organization uses a social recognition program that has a social newsfeed where individuals write positive comments about amazing behaviors and actions of employees, suggest they add comments along with liking what others have said. The key here is to go beyond just liking things and teach people that adding comments give greater meaning to what others have said.  

Idea #2: Two-Part Specificity Rule  

While many of you as subscribers have heard me speak before about the Two-Part Specificity Rule, your fellow employees likely have not. Explain to employees how to be more specific in their social newsfeed comments, writing out E cards, and sending in award nominations.  

A quick refresher on the Two-Part Specificity Rule. 

The first part of being specific, is to tell a person you are recognizing specifically what behavior or positive action you are recognizing them for. This idea stops you from saying, “good job” or “well done”, which are trite and meaningless. 

The second part of the Two-Part Specificity Rule is to be specific about the impact or difference the individual’s actions had on you, a customer, a peer, or to the organization. Many individuals go about their regular work not even realizing the contribution they are making and the difference they make. 

Idea #3: Positive Words Mean Everything  

It would also be important to encourage employees to use more positive word choices with their spoken or written expressions of recognition. It would surprise many of us to know that according to research on human communication, that 50 percent of our vocabulary is negative in nature, with only 30 percent seen as positive words, and 20 percent considered neutral. 

For example, when we say the words “good job”, the use of the word “good” is actually a neutral word and not the positive word we thought it was. And the word “job” is not only neutral but unspecific as to what someone did. That’s why saying something like, “Thank you for the amazing work you did facilitating the phone meeting today with ABC company,” is far more meaningful than just saying, “Good job on the call today.” 

You may have to legitimately cut back on or eliminate rewards. But the one thing you never have to stop doing is recognizing people for their positive efforts, growth, and personal contributions. 

All you need to do is add better quality and more frequent recognition.

Recognition Reflection: How do you best communicate to staff the need to reduce use of rewards in your programs when there are financial constraints?

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