Top 10 Ways to Give Better Recognition Than Anyone Else

Imagine if each person gave recognition just one percent better than the last time that they recognized someone. That’s all it takes to enhance your recognition practices and optimize the usage of your recognition programs. One percent improvement is all it takes. And here are some ways for you to give better recognition than anyone else every day. 

  1. Start your workday off by sending out or giving a thought of gratitude. Even if it is only one person you communicate with, imagine the difference you will make. Don’t open up your email inbox until you have emailed a message or spoken gratitude to someone.
  2. Actively smile whenever you greet someone and especially when you recognize them. Whether face-to-face or virtually through the various video conference tools, a smile engages people and sends positive, emotional, non-verbal communication.
  3. Ensure you make eye contact with people you express recognition to. When two people make eye contact when communicating, their brains actually synchronize emotional brainwaves and it enhances the receptiveness to what they said.
  4. Be enthusiastic and use a positive tone of voice when verbally recognizing others. A positive tone of voice conveys the words communicated in a healthier and better way. Work to be more excited about the recognition you give, and people will feel it.
  5. Use the person’s name in the text boxes of your online recognition programs. It is easy to neglect using a person’s name in an online program because you have selected who the message or ecard is going to. But people read the message in the box, so use it.
  6. In text, writing, or speech, tell people specifically what you’re recognizing them for. Refrain from using the too short and sweet generic statements with your recognition. Tell them exactly what it was you noticed that impressed you. They really want to know.
  7. In the same manner, be specific about how the person’s actions impacted others. Too often people do not know how their positive actions affected others. Share the impact their behaviors had on a peer, a customer, their boss, or for the company.
  8. Work on using positive vocabulary versus neutral words when recognizing people. Stop using words like, “good job” or “well done.” The words “good” and “well” are neutral. And being more specific, eliminates “job,” and “done”. Get more creative. Be amazing!
  9. Leave a voice mail message for someone expressing your thanks for their work. Try after hours to leave a voice mail message expressing your appreciation for the work an employee has done. It may surprise you how long people keep these messages and replay them.
  10. Write a well written thank-you card or note to recognize people each day. If you write one card or note a day to any employee in the organization who has affected you, you will make a tremendous difference. Those cards become keepers, and people often reread them.

How To Get Rid of Negative Perceptions of Recognition

You likely view recognition as an amazing and very positive experience.  

But there are also a bunch of naysayers out there

Your perception of recognition is how you think about it or the impression you have of it based on past or present experiences.

How are you supposed to eliminate the negative perceptions about recognition that exist in your organization?

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How To Orient Employees To Be Recognition Ambassadors

One of the exceptional assets any organization has with their employee recognition programs is the very employees you recognize, praise and celebrate. 

That’s why I think too many organizations lose out on one of the biggest solutions to advocating recognition practices and higher usage of their recognition programs. Yep, your employees.

Today, I am going to share with you how to enlist small groups of employees to become your recognition ambassadors. And once you have launched these ambassadors within your organization, then employee recognition will never be the same. 

Let’s find out how you can create and orient some special employees to become your recognition ambassadors.

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Is Employee Appreciation Day Different From Any Other Day?

It has been over 25-years ago since Dr. Bob Nelson originated Employee Appreciation Day on the first Friday in March. 

There was a two-fold purpose for originating this day. 

  1. Bob says it was to help managers better value their employees.
  2. It also coincided with the release of his book, then titled, 1,001 Ways to Reward Employees

So, even with that brief history of the founding of Employee Appreciation Day, has it really changed things in the workplace? Is Employee Appreciation Day different from any other day of the work week?

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Top 10 Ideas for Motivating Employees Working from Home During the Pandemic

Keep the recognition happening for work from home staff.

Managers are dealing with more work from home employees than ever before. And the current COVID-19 pandemic is looking to keep employees working at home for the next foreseeable future. You must recognize and reward your employees better and you must also enhance the total employee experience, even at the home office. Follow these suggestions to make the work-life experience a better one for your staff.

  1. What are they proud of? Chris Littlefield, founder of Beyond Thank You! suggests asking employees what they’re most proud of in the last six months. Listen carefully to what they say, and you will quickly learn what matters most to each employee.
  2. Conduct a litmus test of home offices. Make one of your 1:1 meetings with each staff about working from home. What are they dealing with in working from home? How is the situation with family, children, and school? How can you help them?
  3. Remove barriers. There are constraints in working from home like time issues, technology challenges, or a lack of communication. Take note of each concern and work on operationally and report back on progress with addressing them.
  4. Use your recognition programs frequently. Go onto your online recognition programs daily and send positive messages. Celebrate people’s birthdays and work anniversaries. Acknowledge people for their help and the positive actions you see.
  5. Create employee connection plans. Facilitate discussion in staff meetings on creating better connections. What internal processes must be improved? What is the preference for each employee? Some will be grateful for less connections. Find out.
  6. Email only during office hours. Boundaries relieve employees from feeling compelled to respond to senders’ emails after hours. It allows staff to separate their work and their personal lives better especially since COVID-19 has affected things.
  7. Flexible schedules and boundaries. Sticking to 9-to-5 schedules may no longer be realistic due to childcare/elder-care responsibilities. Be open minded to budgeting of work time while accommodating others’ time zones and time constraints.
  8. Encouraging peak productivity. If staff are not used to working from home their productivity may wane. Invite staff to identify their peak performance hours and prioritize important tasks during these times and make time slots interruption free. 
  9. Virtually socialize. Create the chance for staff to connect and socialize informally while remote. This can be done through scheduled happy hours or at lunch and learns. This is especially helpful when staff cross multiple locations and time zones.
  10. Offer online learning. Career development shouldn’t stop because people work from home. Draw upon industry and professional certification programs. Have Learning & Development advertise existing resources. Offer to cover learning costs.

How To Write the Best Recognition Strategy – Part 3

Develop Your Organization’s Recognition Plan of Action

You are getting really close to having not only a well-articulated recognition purpose and philosophy statement but also a solid recognition action plan to guide your organization on its recognition journey.

In the post How To Write the Best Recognition Strategy – Part 1, I explained the “Why” and need for a recognition strategy. 

Having a recognition action plan takes your recognition strategy beyond your organization’s purpose and beliefs for recognition. Now you have a complete strategy that will become a powerful tool for propelling recognition practices and programs and also driving your culture and helping to achieve your business strategy.

You’ll find more insights in How To Write the Best Recognition Strategy – Part 2 where I outline what you need with Creating a Recognition Purpose and Philosophy Statement.

Next comes your Recognition Plan. Your recognition plan is going to come from the gap analysis from your recognition assessment. A recognition assessment allows you to see on paper the strengths and weaknesses of your recognition practices, programs, policies, and procedures. 

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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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Continuous Feedback Helps People Learn How To Give Recognition

Giving meaningful and developmental feedback is one of the most effective tools to help people learn how to do things the right way.

And this applies to learning how to give Real Recognition™ the right way, too.

In this post, I will share some essential knowledge gleaned from research that will give you practical insights and principles to use feedback properly. I’ll share what the purpose of feedback should be, how timing plays a role, the effects of feedback and the responses to expect from learners.

Rarely are we taught how to give effective and meaningful feedback.

Take a deeper dive on how continuous feedback helps people learn how to give better recognition the right way. 

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Top 10 Ways to Stay Focused on Recognition in 2021

Try out these focused actions as you lead others to give better and more frequent recognition. You will gain great enthusiasm and confidence for championing the cause of recognition in your organization. You’ll also help those you work with to better focus on giving recognition.

Choose one focus area that you can take on in the coming month.

  1. Focus on being mindful of recognition. Be mindful of recognition by paying attention in every moment to amazing things people do that merit recognition. A timely response, a helpful solution, a kind gesture, or making a difference.
  2. Focus on one recognition goal at a time. No one can do everything. Focus on achieving just one recognition goal. Whether programmatic or supportive, enlisting the help of others is easier when finding one thing to do better than anything else.
  3. Focus on calendaring recognition activities. Clear the calendar and slot in recognition activities you need to work on. Program analysis, communication planning, learning content, etc. – plug into your calendar to get done vs. a to-do list. 
  4. Focus on a specific recognition task. Try out using two-week sprints to make things happen. Break down quarterly goals into monthly activities and then two specific tasks to work on every two-weeks. You’ll be surprised at what you can do.
  5. Focus on leading indicators of recognition. We rely on lagging indicators like usage reports to make changes. But what proceeds every recognition activity. Now target these specific behaviors and increase personal connections for recognition.
  6. Focus on your recognition strategy. Your recognition strategy outlines your recognition purpose and beliefs. It’s also a plan for improving recognition practices and programs. Review your strategy monthly and report on progress quarterly.
  7. Focus on using recognition to support. Work with your senior leaders and review the business and people strategies to see how recognition can help. Revise and plan how to leverage recognition to drive various organizational initiatives. 
  8. Focus on practicing recognition daily. There is no better way to stay focused on recognition than by studying recognition principles and improving your recognition practices. Then look for ways to give better and more frequent recognition daily. 
  9. Focus on using your recognition programs. Go to your recognition programs first thing every day to see comments in the recognition news feed. Check out who has a birthday or a career milestone. Actively comment on posts and like what you see.
  10. Focus on encouraging one person at a time. Eat, breathe, and talk about recognition in your meetings. Teach one principle or practice that someone else shared with you or found through research with one other person each day.