Recognition Does Not Really Improve Employee Engagement…So There!

I know.

How dare I pronounce such heretic claims!

Many in the recognition industry parlay about what people “said,” or what others have “seen,” on one survey or another, suggesting to the world that recognition improves employee engagement.

Some consultancy firms indicate where recognition “occurs,” whatever that means, that organizations have better employee engagement as well as improved key performance metrics. Recognition industry vendors indicate how many managers or employees “say” recognition made so many things totally awesome, such as employee engagement.

But what “people say” on a survey is not exactly sufficient proof.

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How To Write the Best Recognition Strategy – Part 1

Having a business strategy is absolute for driving a business with its concrete plans, which assists with making the right decision.

Likewise, having a written recognition strategy elevates the importance of recognition by outlining three powerful drivers for any organization. 

1.    A recognition strategy allows organizational leaders to spell out its purpose and philosophy for recognition and how they intend to use recognition the right way.

2.    A recognition strategy aligns with the overall organizational strategy and shows how the recognition practices and programs integrate to reinforce and drive results.

3.    A recognition strategy is also supportive of your people strategies, as it is driven by the organizational culture and recognizes people who live the organizational values.

The only question that remains is whether you have a written recognition strategy.

In this four-part series, I will outline how you can write the best recognition strategy essential to catapulting employee recognition practices and programs into the future.

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It’s The Everyday Recognition That’s A Problem

It’s time to let you in on a secret I have known for over twenty years.

When I started my business doing consulting and training around recognition practices and programs, I thought I would find all the organizations that had no recognition going on and save the world. It was a poor marketing strategy and no one from those organizations ever hired me. 

The interesting thing was it was always organizations that were doing recognition that hired me.  

It was always the same trigger that brought me in. Organizational leaders would call up whenever their employee engagement surveys came back and showed low scores for the statements or questions related to employee recognition. 

What was the disconnect? Why was it that their employee scores on the recognition questions were so low? 

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Should Recognition Focus on Your People or the Business?

Managers of organizational recognition practices and recognition programs are often torn between focusing on growth of people or on business results.

You’ll find some organizations create elaborate people strategies to prepare for the growth and development of their employees. Talent management strategies prepare now for the future. And recognition is always a part of the equation, especially when measuring employee engagement.

Then there are others who are strictly business. Their goal is to align recognition and rewards with helping to drive and achieve the strategic initiatives of their business goals.

So, the question is whether, as the owner of recognition in your organization, should you focus on people of the business?

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Can You Drive Real Engagement Through Recognition?

I heard Dr. Brad Shuck speak at Recognition Professionals Conference this past week in Atlanta, Georgia.

Brad’s presentation was about Driving Real Engagement Through Recognition: Applying the Core Principles of Behavioral Economics to Strategy Implementation. It’s a long mouthful of a presentation title but he had some great and valid principles we can all apply to what we do with employee recognition. 

What do you need to do now to prepare for giving recognition better tomorrow?

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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 Effectively Recognize Diverse Employee Groups

What happens when you have a large organization with a wide variety of employee groups? How do make recognition happen for these diversely different employees? Not everyone sits in front of a computer or has an electronic device or smartphone to access online recognition programs.

It all starts with “Why?”

What is your aspirational purpose for giving recognition? (more…)

Why You Should Care More About Your People

Here’s a fact: employees who feel more caring concern and love from their employer and colleagues perform better on the job. Now we’re not talking about romantic love here. This is all about respect, concern, and compassion, or what is being called companionate love.

Do you have policies and practices that promote compassion, caring, and concern, in time of need?

Consider what former Cisco CEO, John Chambers, expected from his staff. He wanted to be notified within 48 hours whenever a close family member of an employee passed away so he could make an appropriate response and action.

What do you do to show care and concern for your employees? (more…)

How To Record Recognition Impact Statements on Video

If you want to convince senior leaders of the importance and power of employee recognition, then seriously consider video recording recognition impact statements from your employees.

A recognition impact statement is preferably a video recorded (but could be written or audio-recorded) account of the impact that the presence or absence of employee recognition has had on employees personally, emotionally, physically, and on their motivation and engagement. (more…)

Is Your Culture Getting In The Way of Your Recognition?

Many factors affect the success of implementing the practice of giving effective and meaningful employee recognition where you work.

Your organizational culture is just one of those factors but it’s often ignored.

Organizational culture is the shared values and beliefs that inform and govern how people behave in an organization. It influences how people act at work and do their jobs.

The successful use of your recognition and reward programs is directly impacted by the strength and positive perception of your company’s culture.

That’s why you must ask yourself: Is our organizational culture contributing towards making recognition giving a way of life?

Or, perhaps your culture is getting in the way of recognition. (more…)