How To Make Recognition Something To Be Accountable For

It seems not enough organizations hold their leaders and managers accountable for giving meaningful and effective recognition to their staff.

These same organizational leaders ask why responses to recognition questions on the last engagement survey did not turn out so well. It is as if it surprised them to see these low numbers. Surely, they would have expected these numbers if leaders regularly connected with their direct reports.

Their problem was they did not hold leaders and managers accountable for recognizing their employees.

Accountability for Recognizing People

When holding leaders accountable for giving recognition, you are holding them responsible for giving a certain amount and frequency of recognition and rewards to employees, and in the right way. You need to get a personal commitment from each leader and manager on what they intend to do. 

  1. Set Clear Expectations. 

For accountability to work effectively for each leader and manager in your organization, they need to know exactly what they expected of them. 

Then, dependent on each individual’s capabilities, you negotiate as to the outcome they are prepared to commit to. This allows each individual to become responsible for a specific, measurable outcome they set with their leader. 

It is much easier to hold people accountable when they have agreed upon the eventual outcome with the leader they report to. 

2. Consider Everyone’s Capabilities 

Most organizations have fallen into the trap of promoting people with only technical and skilled abilities and put them into roles of people managers, or leaders. Not everyone with these technical skills makes the best people managers.

It is important when planning to hold your leaders and managers accountable for recognizing staff, to first determine their strengths and weaknesses for giving recognition. What are their innate personal capabilities? Do they have strong interpersonal and communication skills? Might they benefit from some education and training on recognition skills?

It would be wrong to set up someone up to fail simply because they have not learned the required skills. You can make them accountable initially for learning and applying the knowledge, behaviors, and attitudes for giving meaningful recognition. 

Once they are more accountable for what they know, you can establish the right level of expectations for them. 

3. Measure Agreed Results

The wonderful thing about online recognition programs is the amazing reports they generate which show how people are using the programs. You can track each manager and leader who uses the recognition programs. This allows you to track whether they are reaching their target milestones. 

By properly examining these results, you can work with managers and leaders who need to change the expectations. It may trigger the need to provide specific and tailored resources to assist a particular manager or leader to reach their goal.

4. Two-Way Feedback 

No change or improvement will ever occur, and no expectation reached and maintained, if there is no feedback. 

Use the recognition program reports to look at the fact-based data and information they produce when working with your managers and leaders. It allows you the opportunity to explore with each person in your one-on-one feedback meetings how they feel they are doing and where they think they can improve.  

Strive to hold these feedback meetings once a week, no matter how short the time length. Draw upon good open-ended questions to find out how you can help. Coach your leaders and managers with the skills you know because of you specializing in effective recognition giving. 

5. Set Right Consequences. 

Whenever you hold people accountable, you must let them all know that there are consequences for the outcomes they achieve.

Keep in mind this important adage, and that is, you reward results and always recognize positive behaviors. 

If they do not achieve the mutually agreed upon results, you may question their suitability for the role they are in. Perhaps they need a period of mentoring or coaching to see if they can rise to the occasion and reach the desired outcome, albeit a little later on. And, of course, there is always the possibility that they need a change in roles.

Follow these five steps in the right order to ensure greater accountability for giving amazing and authentic recognition. 

Recognition Reflection: How well are you holding leaders and managers accountable for recognizing employees?

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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