How To Identify What’s Missing With Your Recognition

Many research polls show one of the highest reasons for leaving a place of employment is a lack of recognition for workplace contributions.

You’ll find most organizations are doing something with recognition whether through programs or encouraging people to say “Thank You” more.

But they can still come up short when employees give their feedback on recognition when they’ve responded to the latest employee engagement survey.

What I want to do is give you a simple tool to help you identify if something is missing from making your recognition initiatives successful.

You can learn to solve the challenges in your organization’s approach to giving people effective recognition, by looking at The 3 Essential Factors for giving Real Recognition(TM).

Understanding these factors will provide you with insights as to where your own organization is at in appreciating the work and worth of your employees.

What are these factors? As shown in Figure 1, they consist of Values, Skills and Awareness.Figure 1

Linking the 3 Factors Together

Let’s examine the relationship between each of these factors and the combined impact they have on employee recognition.

By looking at Figure 1 you will see how each factor overlaps with each other. This creates four possible outcomes that will affect the success of recognition giving in your organization.

#1. Could Give Recognition

Looking at cross section #1 with the interaction of Values and Skills, you will see how this occurs when an organization believes recognition is important and when many of the skill sets required are also present.

What’s missing is awareness of the importance of employee recognition or that there is even an issue or a lack of recognition in the company.

Examples of this often occur in large corporations. They have excellent compensation and benefits packages, formal and nominated awards events are ongoing and appear highly valued.

Then the employee satisfaction survey comes back with a dismal evaluation with employees feeling a lack of appreciation for their contributions on the job.

Some of these companies even have leadership development training programs going on which address recognition giving.

However, leaders have become unaware of the importance of the daily need for recognition in people’s lives. Often, reward and recognition programs have become so “mechanized” they have neglected the human element in the equation.

Solution: Evaluate current perceptions of recognition effectiveness and develop an education and communication plan to build greater awareness of the importance of employee recognition.

#2. Would Give Recognition

An organization with the factors of Values and Awareness present such as with the cross over in section #2 is usually aware of the concern over giving and receiving recognition, and they believe recognition is important and should be addressed.

The lack of Skills comes in the inability of designing a recognition process that will last, and the lack of providing appropriate interpersonal skills education and coaching for everyone in the organization.

Evidence of this occurs in organizations where only certain leaders, because of strong interpersonal and charismatic skills, are making sure recognition happens but throughout most of the organization it is not happening at all.

Solution: This is where you need to ensure Learning and Development has giving meaningful and effective recognition skills as one of their planed course offerings either through in-class or online learning. Recognition can also be integrated into onboarding and new manager and leadership training.

#3. Should Give Recognition

Where Skills and Awareness interacts in an organization, as in the third sector, leaders are certainly aware of the need for recognition and they even have the skills to give it well.

The problem in this scenario is the organization may not have clearly identified or communicated values to sustain recognition giving, or the leaders are purely choosing to do nothing about it based on their own personal values.

In many cases, organizations in this sector do have values. It’s just that the values they have, implicitly or explicitly, seem focused on results, money, shareholders, etc.

Leaders must also make a commitment to showing how they value the worth of all of their employees. The irony is that research on employee engagement continues to show how engaged employees perform better and produce higher profits.

Solution: You might need to revisit your values or look for ways to communicate and reinforce a stronger presence and living of your values. Ironically, recognition can be a powerful practice to acknowledge people living your values.

#4. Do Give Recognition

It is only when all 3 factors of Values, Skills and Awareness converge, that the fourth sector emerges. This is where, what I call, Real Recognition(TM) happens.

You see this when acts of recognition become a way of life in an organization and not just because of another program of the month campaign.

Such companies and organizations are aware of the importance and need for recognition. Everyone in the organization shares in the responsibility to give recognition both up and down and to their peers.

They believe it is an outward expression of their organizational values, like respect. Time, money and resources, are committed to providing the necessary skills for leaders at all levels to become competent and confident in giving people the Real Recognition(TM) they all desire to receive.

Check out where your organization stands on the 3 essential factors to making recognition successful where you work.

There just maybe something you need to factor in to complete the recognition equation in your organization.

Question: Is there a factor that is currently weak and impeding recognition giving where you work?

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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