When I first met my wife, Irene, it was love at first sight.
Shortly thereafter, I proposed to her in a written letter and we were soon engaged with a ring to be married. This was my pledge to marry her and by her saying “yes” back to me, her agreement to go along with this.
I am pleased to say we have been “happily” married for over 42 years. You see happily placed in quotation marks simply because marriage is hard work. As a typical male, I know I have not always been the easiest person to live with. Both of us have learned to give and take in all aspects of our lives. I also think that in growing in love together, we have each discovered more about ourselves along the way.
With getting married, the term engagement is mostly a short-lived timeframe and is really just a pre-cursor to marriage itself, which is hoped to be a forever experience.
But maybe as we look at employee engagement, we should take a second look at how well we are engaging people.
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.
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?
Managers of organizational recognition practices and recognition
programs are often torn between focusing on growth of people or on
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?
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?
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)