Overcome Cultural Differences With The Right Recognition Training

I often get asked about dealing with recognition in different countries and my experience with teaching people how to get recognition right. 

So, what about cultural differences? Do you have to teach distinct behaviors to people from each country? 

My observations may surprise you. 

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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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When Recognition and Rewards Are Not Top of Mind

How do you get leaders to be more aware of the importance of recognition and rewards? 

Too often, recognition and rewards and the programs you have in place are not top of mind for many people. And when employees themselves are not on board with recognizing others, you know you’ve got a problem. 

What does it take to raise the importance and value of recognition and rewards? 

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Why I Tell People Not To Create a Culture of Recognition

I was just scrolling through some questions people asked me at the HRPA Conference in Toronto this past January.

One person asked a question that represents the standard thinking of many people. They wanted to know how to create a culture of recognition. The audience there heard my thoughts. Now I want to share them with you.

First off. Please do not create a culture of recognition.

I’ll explain why.

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Top 10 Ways To Drive Recognition Through Your Culture

Effective use of recognition programs and exemplary recognition practices are always driven by your company’s organizational culture. Your culture must stimulate the positive actions you want to see happening to get more people recognizing others more frequently. Look at these Top 10 Ways to Drive Recognition Through Your Culture to spark greater engagement.

  1. Leaders need to own developing company culture. They are the ones who can see the big picture and the corporate vision. Leaders must not only drive organizational culture but also align it with the company business strategy, people strategy, and even your recognition strategy.
  2. How leaders act and what they focus on determines your culture. Leaders must visibly demonstrate daily actions of recognition expressions and celebrating achievements. What employees see their leaders positively doing they will strive to emulate. It is much easier to follow good examples.
  3. Establish a strategic recognition team/committee. Draw upon a diverse and inclusive representation of leaders and employees to steer the integration of recognition into all facets of work life practices. Have them flag any discrepancies with positively living the company culture from top to bottom.
  4. Frame the value of recognition giving and start a movement. Encourage a small number of leaders and employees to become ambassadors of recognition giving. Commit them to passionately appreciate people for the great things being done. Show them how to effectively use your programs.
  5. Expand recognition through company networks. There will be leaders and different departments whose people are better at recognition giving than others. Provide them the chance to share through email broadcast, printed articles, and video interviews how, and why, they are such good recognizers.
  6. Evaluate your stated organizational values and beliefs. People leave and change and so do the way things are done. Your company values may need to be evaluated and revised to fit better. Staff must then identify whether their personal beliefs still mesh with the company’s values and direction.
  7. Create unifying symbols of recognition for everyone. Ensure symbols of recognition are reinforced through branding and meaningful program names. Consider using social badges on your recognition website. Have branded tangible gift items available to acknowledge your employees achievements.
  8. Set simple goals to achieve quick wins. Invite people to set realistic goals for how often they will give better and more effective recognition. Use forum pages or online social collaboration tools to share progress. Or post successes and what you’ve learned through your social recognition program.
  9. Influence your culture through learning. Do what you can to create continuous learning opportunities to develop your culture and recognition giving skills. Get your learning development experts to utilize every available informal and formal learning method to enhance culture and recognition.
  10. Call out the cultural expectations for recognition giving. Use all available communication channels to invite everyone to be true to your culture. Ask staff to gently remind colleagues when they’re not doing or saying things consistent with what your company believes. Recognize those who live it!

Previously published by the author in Incentive Magazine

How To Shift Organizational Cultures After a Merger

There are challenging things that people in corporations experience and one of those times is when there is a merger and acquisition with another company.

It affects people in so many ways and it can impact how you will proceed with recognition and rewards.

Consider that consulting firm McKinsey and Company found that “95 percent of executives describe cultural fit as critical to the success of integration following a merger. Yet 25 percent cite a lack of cultural cohesion and alignment as the primary reason integration efforts fail.”

Getting culture right is obviously critical after a merger.

William Bridges, author of one of my favorite books, Managing Transitions: Making the most of Change, wisely said, “It isn’t the changes that do you in, it’s the transitions.”

What he’s referring to here is that change is situational, as in the case we’re discussing here with a merger. But transition is “the psychological process people go through to come to terms with the new situation.” Thus change is external and transition is internal.

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Taking a Quick Look at Career Milestone Awards

How are your career milestone or service award programs doing these days?

It seems the majority of organizations have tenure or long service award programs. According to WorldatWork’s 2017 Trends in Employee Recognition, length of service recognition remains the top ranked recognition program with 85 percent of organizations. 

Historically, and especially within the public sector, career milestone years were only acknowledged when an employee reached 25 years or longer. Today, most progressive organizations commence with at least 5 years and then celebrate every 5-year increment thereafter.

But when you look at the US Bureau of Labor Statistics the average tenure for salaried employees is 4.2 years. That average drops to 2.8 years for the mobile 25 to 34 year old employees.

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What Do You Want Your Recognition Strategy To Look Like?

Each organization, large or small, should have a written recognition strategy to position recognition at the forefront in their organization.

Michael Porter, in his classic Harvard Business Review article, “What Is Strategy?” states that “strategic positioning attempts to achieve sustainable competitive advantage by preserving what is distinctive about a company. It means performing different activities from rivals or performing similar activities in different ways.”

Naturally, Porter is speaking about a traditional business strategy and not about a recognition strategy.

But what can you learn from the wisdom of Michael Porter? Are there principles you can apply to crafting a recognition strategy? Let’s look carefully at his work. (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…)

Why Recognizing Employees For Going Above and Beyond Is a Good Thing

When employees go above and beyond in the workplace it stands out.

It’s noticeable. Exceptional. And it should be celebrated.

That is why managers need to understand the importance of recognizing employees for going above and beyond.

Why should you establish an above and beyond category to your existing recognition award programs? What are the benefits of doing so? (more…)