Why It Takes Leadership To Make Recognition Happen

Hopefully, your organization has the leadership and engagement of senior leaders, managers, and staff, to make your recognition practices and programs happen the way they should.

Not all organizations are as fortunate to have things rolling forward and progressing in innovative ways. And whether it is you taking the leadership role for recognition, or senior leaders directing the action needed, its leadership that makes recognition happen. 

Leadership does not have to be a title. You just have to take the lead in something like employee recognition and then show others how to follow you. 

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Top 10 Ideas for Motivating Employees Working from Home During the Pandemic

Keep the recognition happening for work from home staff.

Managers are dealing with more work from home employees than ever before. And the current COVID-19 pandemic is looking to keep employees working at home for the next foreseeable future. You must recognize and reward your employees better and you must also enhance the total employee experience, even at the home office. Follow these suggestions to make the work-life experience a better one for your staff.

  1. What are they proud of? Chris Littlefield, founder of Beyond Thank You! suggests asking employees what they’re most proud of in the last six months. Listen carefully to what they say, and you will quickly learn what matters most to each employee.
  2. Conduct a litmus test of home offices. Make one of your 1:1 meetings with each staff about working from home. What are they dealing with in working from home? How is the situation with family, children, and school? How can you help them?
  3. Remove barriers. There are constraints in working from home like time issues, technology challenges, or a lack of communication. Take note of each concern and work on operationally and report back on progress with addressing them.
  4. Use your recognition programs frequently. Go onto your online recognition programs daily and send positive messages. Celebrate people’s birthdays and work anniversaries. Acknowledge people for their help and the positive actions you see.
  5. Create employee connection plans. Facilitate discussion in staff meetings on creating better connections. What internal processes must be improved? What is the preference for each employee? Some will be grateful for less connections. Find out.
  6. Email only during office hours. Boundaries relieve employees from feeling compelled to respond to senders’ emails after hours. It allows staff to separate their work and their personal lives better especially since COVID-19 has affected things.
  7. Flexible schedules and boundaries. Sticking to 9-to-5 schedules may no longer be realistic due to childcare/elder-care responsibilities. Be open minded to budgeting of work time while accommodating others’ time zones and time constraints.
  8. Encouraging peak productivity. If staff are not used to working from home their productivity may wane. Invite staff to identify their peak performance hours and prioritize important tasks during these times and make time slots interruption free. 
  9. Virtually socialize. Create the chance for staff to connect and socialize informally while remote. This can be done through scheduled happy hours or at lunch and learns. This is especially helpful when staff cross multiple locations and time zones.
  10. Offer online learning. Career development shouldn’t stop because people work from home. Draw upon industry and professional certification programs. Have Learning & Development advertise existing resources. Offer to cover learning costs.

How to Write the Best Recognition Strategy – Part 4

Implementing the Recognition Plan for Successful Impact

Many consultants enter organizations prepared to tell the leaders where they are failing in the area of the consultant’s expertise.

The process I have taught you over our four-part treatise on How to Create a Recognition Strategy, headlined the need for you to identify your own recognition strengths and weaknesses before starting the strategy piece.

If you have followed along so far, you will know the importance of crafting a Recognition Purpose and Philosophy statements. Following your assessment of recognition practices and programs you have everything you need to design a complete Recognition Plan to elevate recognition practices and programs in your organization.

That is often where consultants exit the scene. You have a plan with goals set and tactical objectives to make things happen. But then they leave you. And often things sputter out or nothing happens at all.

If there is one thing, I think is essential with a recognition project like this, is to provide you with the tools to implement the plan. Let’s get it off the paper and into action. Focus on moving into the implementation phase.

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How To Write the Best Recognition Strategy – Part 3

Develop Your Organization’s Recognition Plan of Action

You are getting really close to having not only a well-articulated recognition purpose and philosophy statement but also a solid recognition action plan to guide your organization on its recognition journey.

In the post How To Write the Best Recognition Strategy – Part 1, I explained the “Why” and need for a recognition strategy. 

Having a recognition action plan takes your recognition strategy beyond your organization’s purpose and beliefs for recognition. Now you have a complete strategy that will become a powerful tool for propelling recognition practices and programs and also driving your culture and helping to achieve your business strategy.

You’ll find more insights in How To Write the Best Recognition Strategy – Part 2 where I outline what you need with Creating a Recognition Purpose and Philosophy Statement.

Next comes your Recognition Plan. Your recognition plan is going to come from the gap analysis from your recognition assessment. A recognition assessment allows you to see on paper the strengths and weaknesses of your recognition practices, programs, policies, and procedures. 

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How To Strengthen the 3 Factors for Giving Recognition

(C) 2006 Rideau Recognition/2020 Engage2Excel Group

Many of you have heard of my three factors for giving recognition: Values, Skills, and Awareness.

If you put these three factors into a Venn diagram of three overlapping circles, you see some interesting insights that help you understand what’s going on in your organization. 

I will guide you through what each of these factors means and the different outcomes that happen when you only have certain combinations of each of these factors. Then I will share some ideas on how you can strengthen each of these factors to make giving recognition a natural reaction. 

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Continuous Feedback Helps People Learn How To Give Recognition

Giving meaningful and developmental feedback is one of the most effective tools to help people learn how to do things the right way.

And this applies to learning how to give Real Recognition™ the right way, too.

In this post, I will share some essential knowledge gleaned from research that will give you practical insights and principles to use feedback properly. I’ll share what the purpose of feedback should be, how timing plays a role, the effects of feedback and the responses to expect from learners.

Rarely are we taught how to give effective and meaningful feedback.

Take a deeper dive on how continuous feedback helps people learn how to give better recognition the right way. 

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Top 10 Ways to Stay Focused on Recognition in 2021

Try out these focused actions as you lead others to give better and more frequent recognition. You will gain great enthusiasm and confidence for championing the cause of recognition in your organization. You’ll also help those you work with to better focus on giving recognition.

Choose one focus area that you can take on in the coming month.

  1. Focus on being mindful of recognition. Be mindful of recognition by paying attention in every moment to amazing things people do that merit recognition. A timely response, a helpful solution, a kind gesture, or making a difference.
  2. Focus on one recognition goal at a time. No one can do everything. Focus on achieving just one recognition goal. Whether programmatic or supportive, enlisting the help of others is easier when finding one thing to do better than anything else.
  3. Focus on calendaring recognition activities. Clear the calendar and slot in recognition activities you need to work on. Program analysis, communication planning, learning content, etc. – plug into your calendar to get done vs. a to-do list. 
  4. Focus on a specific recognition task. Try out using two-week sprints to make things happen. Break down quarterly goals into monthly activities and then two specific tasks to work on every two-weeks. You’ll be surprised at what you can do.
  5. Focus on leading indicators of recognition. We rely on lagging indicators like usage reports to make changes. But what proceeds every recognition activity. Now target these specific behaviors and increase personal connections for recognition.
  6. Focus on your recognition strategy. Your recognition strategy outlines your recognition purpose and beliefs. It’s also a plan for improving recognition practices and programs. Review your strategy monthly and report on progress quarterly.
  7. Focus on using recognition to support. Work with your senior leaders and review the business and people strategies to see how recognition can help. Revise and plan how to leverage recognition to drive various organizational initiatives. 
  8. Focus on practicing recognition daily. There is no better way to stay focused on recognition than by studying recognition principles and improving your recognition practices. Then look for ways to give better and more frequent recognition daily. 
  9. Focus on using your recognition programs. Go to your recognition programs first thing every day to see comments in the recognition news feed. Check out who has a birthday or a career milestone. Actively comment on posts and like what you see.
  10. Focus on encouraging one person at a time. Eat, breathe, and talk about recognition in your meetings. Teach one principle or practice that someone else shared with you or found through research with one other person each day. 

How To Write the Best Recognition Strategy – Part 2

Creating a Recognition Purpose and Philosophy Statement­—Part 2 of 4

I’ve outlined the reasons why you should have a written recognition strategy for your organization. But where do you begin with creating one?

Organizations need a North Star to guide their recognition efforts. Which makes the first step in crafting a recognition strategy as creating a recognition purpose statement and accompanying philosophy statement.

Having a recognition purpose and philosophy statement unifies organizational leaders and those responsible for employee recognition practices and programs. It gets everyone nodding their heads in agreement with what they have outlined. Everyone is on the same page as to why you have recognition and what you believe about it.

So, let’s figure out how to create one.

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Telling People The Difference Their Actions Make Is Important

In life, I strive for a basic level of minimalism. I still have a lot of things, but I continually get rid of some things I no longer need or use so I can focus more on what’s most important to me­—such as family, friends, joy, and freedom. Minimalism can make a real difference.

However, when expressing recognition to the people you and I work with, there is no need for minimalism with how you communicate your praise and appreciation to them. That means, as I have said before, that those meaningless, short phrases like “good job” and “well done,” don’t work. 

If you’re still using them, you’ve gone too far with decluttering your recognition messaging. 

This post is all about showing you the importance of telling people the difference their positive actions make on others. 

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How To Get Your Leaders To Use Your Recognition Programs

When I conducted a management survey several years ago in the public sector, a response to one question asked revealed that 93 percent of all managers said senior leader involvement in recognition programs was very or extremely important. A large majority, 75 percent, said it was extremely important. 

The reality? 

These same managers said only 21 percent of leaders were very involved with their recognition programs. 

Our research shows that organizations with leaders committed to supporting award and recognition programs strategically, financially, and by example, have higher employee evaluations for feeling appreciated for their contributions on the job.

All that remains for you to do is to get your leaders using your online recognition programs. Try out some of the following suggestions.

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