How To Prevent Overwhelm With Recognizing Everyone

You can read the research statistics out there on employee recognition and wonder where do you begin.

Take this example from the Gallup Business Journal of June 28, 2016:

“According to Gallup’s analysis, only one in three workers in the U.S. strongly agree that they received recognition or praise for doing good work in the past seven days. At any given company, it’s not uncommon for employees to feel that their best efforts are routinely ignored. Further, employees who do not feel adequately recognized are twice as likely to say they’ll quit in the next year.

That means if you had 1,000 employees in your company that 667 of them would say they did not receive sufficient or any recognition or praise for doing good work in the last seven days.

Or consider this nursing example where only 31.6 percent of nurses received praise or recognition often or very often from nurse unit managers. Yet these recognized nurses “showed more job satisfaction, stated they had more opportunities to practice professionally, described a more positive work climate and were more committed to the organization such as being proud to work at and willing to make effort for the unit and hospital” – than those nurses rarely or very rarely receiving praise.

So you have 1,000 nurses in your hospital and the likelihood is high that 684 of them are poorly praised and recognized and have low engagement towards the institution and with patient care.

Overall, that is a lot of people needing recognition.

Perspective On The Many Unrecognized

But you are only one person. How can you deal with the overwhelming number of people who remain unappreciated and not valued for their contributions?

To gain a perspective on how to deal with the large number of employees who remain unrecognized where you work, I want to relate this to an experience I had overseas.

When I had client work in the cities of Bangalore and Mumbai in India a few years back, I was exposed to seeing the stark realities of third world poverty and hunger. It was gut wrenching to see and I felt quite helpless.

The one Sunday I attended church after a long taxi ride through areas revealing the poorest of economic circumstances I had ever seen for thousands of people.

Presiding over the small church congregation was an America expatriate. He and his wife were kind enough after the services to invite me to dinner and take me back to my hotel afterwards.

Over dinner I described my experience in viewing the degree of poverty I had seen that day and asked how he dealt with this having lived in Indian for several years.

His wise counsel was simply, “I have learned I can only help one person at a time.”

Likewise, with the many employees you are associated with, you can only recognize one person at a time.

Encouraging Ownership Of Recognition Giving

Your biggest role is to (1) be an example of consistently giving recognition, and (2) inviting others, one-on-one, to become real recognition givers.

Have at hand your own organization’s research findings, such as employee engagement surveys, to share with your leaders and managers the reality on how your organization is really doing with giving recognition.

Put some meaning to these numbers by capturing some video interviews of employees recounting positive actions that they felt were ignored by those they worked with.

Then approach each leader in your company, face-to-face, through email, or communicate through whatever channel is best to connect by, and extend to them the invitation for them to recognize at least one person each day.

A commitment to daily recognizing a different employee keeps top of mind the need to be constantly observing for positive actions and always valuing the big and small things going on that might be taken for granted.

No matter how busy your schedule becomes with meetings, administrative tasks, and people issues, daily recognition giving guarantees you’ve spent at least part of your workday valuing people in your organization.

The key to beating overwhelm for all those unrecognized employees, is to remember you cannot recognize them all. But you can easily recognize one person each and every day.

If you haven’t already recognized someone today, please go and do so now.

Question: What do you personally do to cope with the knowledge of so many employees not being recognized 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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