It can be challenging to provide recognition that is meaningful across different employee groups and still be perceived as equitable and fair.
I will show you some strategic and structural ways in which you can plan to make recognition appeal to all employee groups.
Remember there is no perfect recognition system for all organizations. Recognition can never be a cookie cutter approach. But there is a recipe for having greater recognition success when dealing with different employee types and levels.
Use the following ingredients and directions for making recognition appeal to everyone.
Know Why You’re Doing Recognition In the First Place
Let’s imagine your organization provides professional services to seniors in their home or in a senior care facility where they reside.
Your organization is made up of frontline employees delivering the direct personal care service, administrative personnel keep everything on track, and of course, management keeps the business strategically sound.
You have got to be very clear why you want to appreciate people for who they are and recognize them for what they are doing. Know your why for giving recognition.
First and foremost people want to be valued for their contributions. They want to be noticed for the good and great things they are doing each and every day.
The WorldatWork 2015 Trends in Employee Recognition survey showed the Top 5 Recognition Goals for the majority of companies were:
- Recognize years of service.
- Create/maintain a positive work environment.
- Create/maintain a culture of recognition.
- Motivate high performance.
- Reinforce desired behaviors.
What Practices Do You Have In Place Already?
Start with your everyday recognition and the recognition practices that are personally delivered from one person to another before tackling informal and formal recognition initiatives.
Do dispatchers of caregivers include positive messaging in their emails, texts or phone calls? Perhaps supervisors can leave encouraging notes in the communications book. Are there one-on-one, face-to-face meetings at least once a month with immediate supervisor or manager?
Create recognition shout outs to staff that have excelled during your weekly or monthly staff meetings. This can cover all levels of employees.
Caregivers appreciate the most valuable thanks from the people they care for. It is their motivation for coming to work. Managers could randomly select different seniors to contact from various employees and solicit genuine feedback and write those comments in a thank you card or convey it in an email to the employee.
Administrative staff is often taken for granted because they are behind the scenes and not the direct service provider. But they keep the organizational machine fine-tuned and running.
Don’t neglect recognizing them for the regular routine work they do. When an administrative staff member does not show up for work watch for the bedlam and confusion that arises. That’s when people are missed and appreciated!
Anticipate the day-in, day-out, consistent great work done by administrators by commending them when you see them. They are the people keeping everyone in business and operating smoothly.
Maybe you have an annual employee appreciation day or a social served by management. But make sure you cover all the shifts or find some way to bring some food item, a treat or ice cream to each employee so they are not missed.
Getting Committed to a Recognition Strategy
Recognition never happens unless it is lead, demonstrated and planned for.
Organizational leaders need to make time to create a written recognition strategy.
A recognition strategy should define what your purpose and beliefs are about employee recognition and how you plan to give everyday recognition, informal recognition and formal recognition to your frontline caregivers, administration and managers.
Meeting Everyone’s Needs
Frontline employees in this scenario are the most unseen but most important members of this caregiving organization.
They act independently providing the very best service this organization is known for. Their supervisors occasionally communicate with them and managers most likely rarely interact with them.
Often, recognition programs are inaccessible to them so are not the best vehicle to convey recognition by.
They need connection with supervisors who know the clients or residents they serve. Meet regularly with them even if only by phone to know how they are doing, express appreciation to them and let them know how valued their service is to the clients.
Administrative staff likely has more opportunities to see each other so can have more social recognition opportunities. Like celebrating personal life events. Supervisors can arrange morning “huddles” to meet and communicate expectations for the day or week and weave in ways to recognize one another.
Managers are most often paid well and may not need the same amount, frequency or type of recognition as frontline staff does. Yet, I continue to see managers desiring some form of pedestal to have their organizational accomplishments acknowledged.
Holding Everyone Accountable for Recognition
Nothing is ever going to change if you don’t hold people accountable for giving employees the recognition they deserve.
You have to positively reinforce people when they do give recognition and provide consequential feedback for those who simply ignore this important practice.
Use performance management process tools to measure how people are doing with giving recognition and to create development plans for those who struggle with this skill.
Recognition is no longer solely a top down – manager to employee – behavioral skill set. Recognition is now multidirectional and should be both peer-to-peer given as well as employee to manager.
It is only once you have a solid repertoire of recognition practices in place, that you can you begin to consider automating any of your informal or formal recognition needs into recognition programs.
Q: What have you done to ensure all of your employee groups are fairly recognized?
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.