Okay, so you’ve written your recognition strategy. You have a vision and purpose statement for recognition practices and programs. You even have a plan drawn up with focus areas and objectives to see things implemented.
Do you just launch the thing and see your recognition strategy unfold? The details drawn up do not mean it will accomplish your strategy as is.
Life often has surprises in store for us. Even a recognition strategy can have surprises, too.
Effective leaders need to command a centre of kindness and compassion towards those they lead in their organizations. They need to cut themselves some slack on the pressure driven roles they have to live with.
If they haven’t already learned the value of giving meaningful recognition to people, now is the time to teach them.
But here’s the clincher for you. You may have to show them how.
My purpose for this post is to convince you to make some changes. Strive to build positive relationships on a regular basis with your employees. This is an essential practice to develop in order to improve the value of nonmonetary recognition.
When you have a positive relationship with your staff, you are creating a foundation on which to build employee recognition, employee engagement, and a complete employee experience. This positive relationship strength between a giver of recognition and the recipient helps to enhance the value of the recognition and show the authenticity of the recognition expressed.
I’m going to share with you some principles to apply in fostering a more positive relationship with your employees and those you work with.
Reluctance in giving people the recognition they deserve comes from a fear of being rejected, and lack of preparation with recognizing people, and not having the proper mindset or the skills to give recognition. Resistance is normal and to be expected.
If you have reluctance to recognize well deserving peers and staff, you might procrastinate and put off sending an ecard or calling them up to praise them. You might repeatedly over-prepare, such that what you should say or what you should write to express recognition doesn’t happen, and you put it off.
You may second guess yourself and anticipate how you think the recipient will react and respond to the recognition you give them.
If you continue to ignore your reluctance to recognize those around you, and those who report to you, you could see employee performance bottom out and potentially see staff leave to go work where they will feel better appreciated.
Each of us are unique human beings and are truly works-in-progress.
I would never expect that each person who writes and sends an anniversary or career milestone ecard, or any ecard, look exactly the same way. That would make them impersonal and insincere.
However, the recent experience of reaching my 15th year with Engage2Excel, previously known as Rideau Inc., provided some wonderful insights to learn from with the emails or ecards that I received from leaders and peers alike.
Let’s look at some messages sent to me and learn some practical principles when expressing recognition in writing on a long-service anniversary.
You know how surprised I am that the percentage of organizations with a written recognition strategy has actually dropped from 55 percent back in 2017 down to 49 percent in 2019.
I guess the question remains to be answered why this is. And while WorldatWork never asked respondents to answer why they had a recognition strategy or not, the issue needs to be answered.
I won’t pretend to read people’s minds, but I can tell you from organizations I have subsequently worked with, why they didn’t have a recognition strategy before I worked with them. If you don’t have a recognition strategy, you just might relate with them.
Check out some reasons below that organizations might give for why they don’t have a recognition strategy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.