How To Help Your Leaders Stay on Top of Recognition

Hopefully, you have a supportive executive leader who acts as your sponsor or champion for the cause of employee recognition where you work. You never want recognition to become out of sight and then out of their mind.

The only reason recognition would ever disappear off of your leader’s radar screen is if you take it off yourself.

That’s why it is so important to help your leaders stay on top of everything that’s going on with employee recognition.

Here are some great ways to keep recognition top of mind for your leaders.

Make Recognition a Strategic Plan

I have commented before how the last WorldatWork 2019 Trends in Employee Recognition showed only 49 percent of surveyed organizations had a written recognition strategy. However, what gets me excited about having a strategy is the fact that 97 percent of organizations with a written recognition strategy, were also aligned with the business strategy of their organization.

But sometimes, having a strategy document doesn’t go far enough without a concrete, actionable plan with measurable objectives. Keep this document in front of your leader all the time.

Give them the overriding short-term goal for your recognition practices and recognition programs. Let them know what the previously conducted gap analysis revealed that the organization should focus on with recognition. Draft some realistic and doable solutions to bridge the gap and move recognition forward. Set some outcome measures so you can prove when you have reached your goals.

Get to Know What’s Troubling Them and Integrate Recognition

Find out about the current and future business, societal, and economic issues facing your company. What keeps your leader awake at night? Leaders are always in the thick and thin of these challenges through meetings and reviewing briefing reports.

How can you assist them by framing how recognition initiatives and programs can contribute positively? Is there a way that you can integrate recognition into operational practices that will boost morale and productivity? Can you set up a reward and incentive programs to reinforce innovative ideas for saving time and/or money for the company?

Show how recognition is one tool at the top of the toolbox that can always help solve your leader’s business problems.

Show Them The Recognition Numbers

Leaders are in their position because they are good at seeing the big picture. Great leaders have a balanced approach to focusing on people and the business. 

They get it. They know that engaged employees are more loyal and do great work.

You possess of one of the greatest tools to drive engagement and results—your online recognition programs. The key is making sure your recognition programs generate good data and produce even better reports. Mine that data and find out how your recognition program outputs help to:

  • Show good program usage by managers and employees.
  • Provide insight on who is giving recognition well.
  • Identify which employees are being recognized and who is not.
  • Tell which recognition and reward programs are being used the most, and why.
  • Reveal which departments and employees are more engaged than others.
  • Identify managers and leaders who need coaching and education on how to give better recognition the right way.
  • Can correlate recognition data with key performance indicators to prove recognition drives results.
  • Impacts employee engagement and retention.

Show leaders the full business impact that recognition makes. Provide the cost-benefit ratio analysis or the ROI wherever you can monetize the numbers.

Help Leaders To Be Great Recognizers

You can help your leaders stay on top of employee recognition by providing them with the tools, coaching, and education on how to give meaningful and effective recognition to others. Invite them to develop their own recognition action plan to put recognition into their workday if they don’t already have established recognition practices.

Doug Conant, the former CEO of Campbell’s Soup, long had a habit of making time to write 10 thank you or recognition notes a day to connect with his people. He figures over 10 years he spent at Campbell’s he probably wrote about 30,000 notes to the 20,000 employees then on staff.

Give your leader the names, information and recommended ways to recognize people properly when making formal award presentations. Remind them that staff value recognition from their leaders so they should give the best recognition possible. 

Stay on Top of Using Recognition Programs

Recognition programs are a tool for helping leaders, managers, and employees practice giving recognition to others.

Help your leaders learn every aspect of your online recognition programs so they can work with their direct reports to encourage them to use your programs. Let your leaders literally lead the way in recognizing leaders, managers, and employees across the company. 

Request they ask their direct reports to scan their team members and report back to the leader on exemplary employee performance and positive actions that merit recognition. Then your leader can go online and use your social recognition programs or send appropriate eCards out to commend these employees and praise their actions.

Get Leaders Out of the Office

Leaders cannot pretend to know everything about what is going on in the organization. But they should know a lot about their people and the contributions they’re making that merit recognition.

One of the best ways to learn more about staff in any organization is to have leaders make time to get out of the office.

I enjoyed interviewing Peter Aceto years ago, the former CEO of ING Direct, that became Tangerine bank. Peter shared what you can do to spend time well and create relationships with people throughout the organization.  I asked him on any given day, how much time he spent creating relationships and getting to know his employees.

He told me it was probably slightly over 50% of his day.  He spent maybe 30% of his day doing stuff that he called “anti-social” like reading memos, writing things, reading presentations, etc.  But pretty much every other interaction other than that, even for a very specific business purpose, to him was relationship building. 

Through those relationships he learned what was happening on the front lines. They learned what he was dealing with on the business side. And he also found out the big and small things everyone was doing to make a difference. 

Peter learned all the amazing things going on because he listened and observed by being out of his office. He became a great recognizer of his staff because of this.

Do all you can to communicate the headlines and scroll bar news reports of recognition to your leader. It doesn’t matter whenever you interact with your leader—by email, in the hallway, or in a formal meeting.

Work hard to keep employee recognition top of mind with your senior leaders.

Recognition Reflection: What is the best way you use to help your leaders stay on top of 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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