How To Tie Recognition to Your Organizational Values

You must always remember one principle of recognition, and that is your organizational culture will drive recognition practices and recognition programs throughout your organization.

In like manner, it is the organization’s customary recognition practices and exemplary usage of your recognition programs that will drive your organizational culture.

No wonder so many organizations gear up their recognition programs to focus on recognizing people who live their values.

Look at the various ways in which you can tie recognition practices and programs to your organizational values.

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How To Give More Consistent Recognition

One of the four criteria for the different levels on our Recognition Maturity Model is the variable of consistency.

If there is one thing, I hear all the time from recognition managers and program administrators; they hope to have more people consistently recognizing employees. And they also speak of wanting greater consistency of recognition across all areas of the organization, be that by departments or geographic locations.

Consistency is so important that is even one criterion on our Recognition Maturity Model, which you can learn more about here.

But what do we mean by giving consistent recognition? How can you make this happen across your organization?

Dive in to learn more about consistency.

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How Do You Know What and When To Reward

One of the questions I am often asked when it comes to rewards is what to reward people with as well as when are you supposed to give those rewards.

It’s important to remember that rewards can be tangible, monetary, or experiential in nature. This opens the door to all kinds of creative options and ideas for what to give to people or give them access to choose.

And broadly you give rewards to individuals or teams whenever they reach pre-set goals, a significant achievement, or a special service was performed.

Now let’s dig a little deeper so you can better understand these elements.

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How To Transfer Recognition Skills Back on the Job

An area of concern when conducting workshops around learning recognition-giving skills is ensuring learners will apply the learned skills back on the job.

Below are my recommendations I use with participants in my learning sessions. 

Set up your workshop or seminar session so that attendees sit in table groups with fellow learners. Where possible, try to get a diversity of attendees at each table so they’re not sitting with everyone they know from their own department or work team.

Towards the end of the training session the final activity is choosing a realistic and manageable goal to implement a recognition specific skill or principle learned from the session over the next 30-days. The expectation is that you will follow up with each group’s participants to gather team results and compile a transfer of learning report.

This is the best way to get people to apply the recognition skills they learn in training into their jobs. Consider the following steps in making a transfer of learning a success.

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Let Your Leaders Know What It’s Like To Be Unrecognized

Sometimes they just don’t get it, do they?

You’ll hear a comment from a leader questioning the import of your wanting to create a recognition strategy. Another leader glosses over the latest engagement survey results and states that 56% percent on the recognition questions is good, isn’t it? These are all real scenarios.

Now I am well aware this does not describe all leaders. But there are enough to cause concern.

A few of them don’t understand why some employees are complaining about a lack of recognition. They think they pay their employees well and they have good jobs. What more can they want?

Sounds like it’s time to let your leaders know what it feels like to be unrecognized.

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When Senior Leaders Get In The Way of Recognition

There’s a big difference with how recognition is perceived by people in different parts of the world.

When I was working in India, for example, I found the people there had a preoccupation with getting tangible or monetary rewards. Why? This was mainly because the pay employees earned in India was so low their goal was to meet basic needs. If they could receive any additional money they would take it.

In France, they too found rewards more important than say verbal appreciation. However, this was not for economic reasons. For the majority of managers I dealt with there, they felt that recognition was too much of an “Americanized” rah, rah, exercise. They gave the “touchy-feely” complaint. I had to remind them that I was originally from England, and now a Canadian. I also told them that the recognition I had received, so far, actually felt pretty good.

The irony is, that in all fourteen countries, I’ve been to, including India and France, a majority of employees indicated through engagement surveys that they did not feel valued and appreciated for the work they did. They lacked recognition, beyond rewards and pay.

A subscriber, and manager, from South Africa, raised the concern of how senior leaders would not permit managers and staff to practice giving recognition to one another. They even had a hard time enlisting HR’s help with making real recognition happen in their organization.

What would you do in such a situation? Can one manager impact an organization to make recognition happen?

Following are some suggestions to consider when leaders get in the way of employee recognition. (more…)

How To Align Recognition with Behaviors and Performance

Organizations need to do a much better job of aligning recognition practices and programs with the great things their employees do.

The 2017 WorldatWork Trends in Employee Recognition Survey showed that above-and-beyond performance recognition programs were offered by 77 percent of the organizations surveyed. The challenge with above-and-beyond programs is that so few employees can ever be “above-and-beyond” at any one time. This leaves a lot of employees out in the cold, so to speak, from being recognized for positive actions.

WorldatWork results also revealed how only 51 percent of the companies offered programs to motivate specific behaviors.

In the past five years, recognition programs used to motivate specific behaviors, have risen from the fourth most used type of program to now being in the third position. However, even with this apparent popularity rise, behavioral type recognition programs only recognized 25 percent of employees, on average, in the past 12 months of the survey.

How can you, as a recognition program leader, use your recognition programs to consistently reinforce positive behaviors and lift workplace performance? (more…)

Give People Social Badges To Increase Engagement

If any of you were ever in Boy Scouts or Girl Guides, or you currently have children in these programs now, you’ll be familiar with merit badges.

A merit badge is typically a round or geometric shaped material badge, with a symbolic image, representing more than a 100 achievement areas. You can learn about sports, crafts, trades, the outdoors, business and many other areas.

They are awarded to youth based on fulfilling a required list of activities and study in any chosen area.

Does anyone remember when Microsoft® Xbox 360 came on the scene back in 2005? That is when they first introduced the idea of digital badges as an achievement system within online games.

Badges are all the rage in the world of gamification with playing video games and online learning.

Today, digital badges use visual representation of real-world accomplishments such as running marathons or with certifying learning on instructional sites like Khan Academy.

I would advocate that badges are a great way to acknowledge people for living company values and accomplishing specific strategic goals.

What is the benefit from incorporating badges into your online recognition programs? (more…)

Master These 5 Behaviors for Great Recognition

In my work to help people give real recognition wherever they work, I’ve been able to conduct research on the essential behaviors effective managers do well in giving employees authentic recognition.

I identified a total of 40 behaviors observed in people recognizing one another. These were grouped into 5 categories or domains to help us focus people more clearly on the different types of behaviors.

Then we solicited experts in the field of employee recognition to rank these behaviors by how important they were and the level of positive impact they had and how frequently effective recognizers used them.

What I want to do for you today is give you just the top 5 behaviors that if you will implement and improve upon will make you a better recognizer of those around you.

Are you ready? (more…)

Do You Really Maintain A Culture With Recognition?

I have written before about stopping people from creating a “this or that” culture.

In fact, in the early stages of my career, I used to deliver a course called “Making A Real Recognition® Culture”.

Now I refute this belief I once stated.

You only need one culture.

Your culture is your company’s purpose, vision and values. It is the explicit way you do things where you work. It’s the common set of beliefs and appropriate behaviors everyone strives to follow.

You don’t need a culture of engagement, a culture of trust, a culture of collaboration, or a culture of growth, innovation, or change, for that matter.

You shouldn’t even have a recognition culture.

What you need is your very own culture – whatever it is you and your organization stand for.

But the question asked is whether recognition will help you maintain your organizational culture. (more…)