How To Find Out What Your Leaders Think of Recognition

Heading every organization is a senior leadership team.

They play a critical role in providing strategic and operational leadership for your organization. And they also play an essential role in representing the organizational culture and showing what leadership should look like, by how they interact with one another and with employees. 

They often leave your task to “read minds” on how each leader thinks about recognition. Hopefully, you have an exemplary executive sponsor who is a cheerleader and champion for the cause of employee recognition to draw upon. 

But in a general sense, how do you find out what each of your executive leaders think about recognition? 

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Top 10 Powerful Words for Giving Amazing Recognition

Knowing the right things to say is critical for giving authentic, meaningful recognition. Expressions like, “I want you to know how much I appreciate your help today with finalizing ABC’s incentive program launch. You saved the day for us, Kim, by getting everything ready to go,” makesuse of all the right words. Check out the Top 10 Powerful Words below for crafting amazing recognition and tune up how you give recognition.

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Appreciating People for Who They Are and Their Personal Qualities

When you get involved in a specific discipline and area of practice like employee recognition, you end up grappling with how to define things that fit your frame of reference.

At the same time you hope you can engage others is seeing things as you do and accepting the definitions you develop.

Such was the case with defining recognition when I first began speaking and training on the topic in the mid-nineties.  

A leading industrial company in Canada invited me to meet with them because they had just reviewed their employee engagement survey results. As is often the case, the responses to the questions addressing employee recognition were not so good.

In the first consultative meeting together I asked the leaders responsible for employee recognition what they were doing regarding recognizing employees. Following hearing about their existing programs and their total rewards strategy, I asked them if what they were doing was real recognition.

That’s when one of them sincerely asked me, what is “real recognition”?

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Find Out How People Want To Be Recognized

Has your manager ever recognized you in a way you really didn’t appreciate?

While not by my manager, I can recall twice where people recognized me in not the best way.

Each of these poor recognition events proved the person responsible for recognizing me had done no homework. In addition, it might well have been the individual transferring their own preference on to how they recognized me. And, I also think one was a cheap, quick and easy way out.

The bottom-line is I did not feel properly recognized.

Have you seen employees disappointed or feeling a lack of respect with how they’re acknowledged and recognized?

We will discover ways for finding out how people want to be recognized.

Remember, I alluded to two occasions where I received depersonalized recognition that meant nothing to me? Let me share those experiences with you so we can learn from them.

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What Makes Recognition Different From Appreciation?

A subscriber of our Authentic Recognition blog suggested I should write about the difference between recognition (more related to work) versus appreciation (more related to the person).

I asked them why this topic was important right now. It seems their organization uses the Gallup Organization’s Q12 engagement survey every two years. In the past year they focused on the recognition specific question/statement #4, “In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work”. 

Her research, like many of us have found, led her to see that “recognition in the workplace” has so many meanings.

She wisely observes that “people fundamentally want to be ‘understood and cared for’ or ‘appreciated’ and would prefer that over ‘recognition’”

She asked for my thoughts on the differences between recognition and appreciation.  Apparently, her organization will likely continue with using recognition. However, she wonders if more time should be spent on appreciation instead of recognition in order to improve the Gallup survey scores.

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The Impact Your Voice Can Have on the Recognition You Give

Of all the recognition behaviors or practices I have studied, it amazed me that one’s voice ranked as the most important behavior in conveying authentic and effective recognition.

But we couldn’t argue with the content validation exercise conducted with employee recognition experts.

That’s why I want you to learn to better use your voice to communicate more meaningful recognition.

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What Are Your Recognition Strengths and Weaknesses?

How good are you at giving recognition? Do you feel like your attempts to praise and acknowledge people are hitting the mark?

Maybe you are already good at appreciating people for who they are and recognizing them for what they do.

Each of us will be naturals at recognizing people or have a lot of things still to learn. But what is good for those of you, who feel they are not so confident or competent at giving recognition, is that recognition is a learned behavior. Phew! We all have a chance at getting better at this skill, which is a highly ranked need of employees.

Consider your own strengths and weaknesses in giving meaningful and effective recognition. Do you know what you do well? Where should you begin? (more…)

Top 10 Ways to Leverage Employee Appreciation Day

Employee Appreciation Day is an unofficial holiday (not a day off of work, mind you!) that is observed on the first Friday in March in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. It is a day for company leaders and managers to thank employees for their hard work and effort throughout the year. It was never intended to be the only day you recognize your staff. How can Employee Appreciation Day be a reminder for you to better appreciate the people you work with? Find out how in Top 10 Ways to Leverage Employee Appreciation Day. (more…)

Are You Being Praised and Recognized Regularly Enough?

You are probably aware how the Gallup Q12 Index asks a great recognition related question in their measure of employee engagement.

They ask the question, “In the last seven days, have you received recognition or praise for doing good work?”

So let’s pretend your company conducts the Gallup Q12 survey or a similar evaluation tool. A year later nothing has changed with your lack of recognition. What are you then supposed to do then?

I think we’ve created a very dependent and needy world. We are too dependent on our smartphone notifications and automated communications. There’s perhaps an entitlement mentality where we’re thinking others are always expected to do things to us, or for us.

But what if the recognition and praise doesn’t come your way? Is there anything you can do to correct this?

My goal in this post is to put you in charge of getting the praise and recognition you deserve when you want it. (more…)

My RPI Update For You

I don’t know if the conference was directly planned around it or not, but the common theme that emerged from the plenary presentations at the 2018 Recognition Professionals International’s (RPI) annual conference in Nashville, Tennessee, was clearly – organizational culture.

David Sturt, from O.C. Tanner, and co-author of Appreciate: Celebrating People, Inspiring Greatness, began the conference discussing A Modern Framework for Building an Engaging Culture. A line David repeated a few times during his speech was, “culture is powerful.”He gave several examples from around the globe to prove his point. It was evident that the character and actions of a CEO and other leaders have a significant effect on culture.

He covered six elements of his model, namely, Purpose, Opportunity, Leadership, Wellbeing, Success, and, of course, Appreciation.  Here’s an interesting finding from David’s presentation. Their research found “31% of employees say their direct manager often takes credit for their work or ideas.”

I like how he reminded all of us “employee engagement is something that is chosen not driven.”You can’t make someone else engaged. You can only engage yourself. Everyone else helps to create an engaging environment.

First thing Tuesday morning, Chester Elton, from The Culture Works, woke us all up with his lively style highlighting findings from his recently released, co-written book, The Best Team Wins: The New Science of High Performance. Besides making a winning team, Chester shared how culture drives your brand. If you don’t get culture right recognition doesn’t happen. He told us if you want to make your day a little better, go and appreciate someone.

We can learn from everyone and Kimberly Huffman, Director of Organizational Development, from Dollar General proved that was the case. She focused her presentation on how they’ve worked on creating an employee experience to elevate employee engagement. Kimberly reminded us “the customer experience will never exceed the employee experience.”

If you live in North America, you’ve probably shopped at a TSC store some time in your life. Dennis Borchers, HR Communications Manager, from Tractor Supply Company, taught us powerful stories and examples of store associates who made a difference. Dennis made an interesting point when he said, “Every day is just as important as the extraordinary.”This was in response to the examples of two store associates. One would be deemed to have made a significant and repeated contribution. The other was an employee who exemplified outstanding customer service on one observed occasion. Both merited being recognized.

It is always good to associate with like-minded people at conferences like RPI. This is especially the case when you meet up and share ideas with recognition practitioners who work so hard to make recognition happen in their companies.

Reflective Question: How do you address your organization’s culture to drive recognition giving practices?