Top 10 Solutions to Typical Recognition Program Problems

Whenever technology is involved there will always be bugs and glitches that get in the way. Likewise with recognition and reward programs. However, for the most part, the biggest problem with recognition programs is not technology. It is the people factor and how recognition programs are used. Consider these Top 10 Solutions to Typical Recognition Program Problems to help you out. (more…)

Don’t Expect Rewards Just Because I Recognized You

A common problem, and misperception, of some recognized employees, is they believe that afterward, rewards must come their way. Or, perhaps they automatically assume that the recognition received, will guarantee a promotion or a raise at their next performance review. Employees think, “You recognized me so where’s my reward?”

Sometimes it’s the managers and supervisors who hold this attitude. If they think employees have this reward expectation, they often hold back from acknowledging their employees’ work and contributions.

We need to stop this idea that giving people praise and recognition sets employees up for expecting more rewards.

Here are ways for dealing with this employee recognition and rewards dilemma. (more…)

Why Your Recognition Training Is Likely Failing

Have you tried to train your people on how to give better recognition and it didn’t work? Were you able to measure the transfer of learning back to the job? What was the business impact of the recognition education delivered? Have employees reported improved recognition?

There are many reasons why educating and training managers and employees on recognition giving can fail. Authors and education experts, Tim Mooney and Robert O. Brinkerhoff, suggest bold actions for achieving business results in their book, Courageous Training. They provide a useful list of eleven possible causes for training failure.

I will unpack each one of these causes and then discuss how it relates specifically to employee recognition training. I want you to overcome the typical problems associated with training people effective recognition skills. (more…)

Getting Managers to be Proactive with Recognition Giving

Some of you manage an array of different employee recognition programs and work hard to maintain them and promote them.

While I have written about the need for recognition to be multi-directional in origin and not be owned by managers and supervisors alone, it is still very important to enlist management support.

Your goal should be to get managers excited about expressing recognition to employees and help them prepare to give it face-to-face and online. If you can help them to anticipate when recognition should occur in an employee’s life then they will become eager to give recognition.

Think about the following trigger points to help managers be proactive with recognition giving. (more…)

Why a Recognition Mission Statement Is So Important

What happens when your organization doesn’t even have a purpose for recognition? Why should you have a written mission statement for recognition?

That’s the dilemma one of your fellow subscribers submitted. For them, their biggest struggle is not having a formal company mission regarding recognition.

Too often, the focus for many organizations with recognition is limited to recognition programs. Recognition programs should be viewed as simply a tool to help people practice the more important, day-to-day practice of recognition giving.

That’s why your purpose for recognition should always include recognition practices as well as your recognition programs.

How can you create a recognition mission statement? (more…)

5 Ways To Get Managers to Complete Recognition Training

It’s essential to educate your managers on giving real recognition the right way. If behaviors are going to change they need to learn how to do so.

You can provide great in-class workshop sessions or online learning courses on employee recognition and still not be able to get your managers on board in taking them – let alone completing them.

What can you do to get your managers to complete the recognition training you provide for them? (more…)

How To Do A Stakeholder Analysis For Your Recognition Program

Before jumping into designing and developing an online recognition program make sure you get the input from all the key players in your organization.

One way to do this is to conduct a stakeholder analysis as you move through the various project management stages.

I am going to take you through the steps for carrying out a successful stakeholder analysis. (more…)

Top 10 Fears Stopping Us From Recognizing Others

 

Many of us can get quite overwhelmed with having to recognize people. For some, it can seem almost fearful. Yet, as Steven Pressfield, in his book, The War of Art explains, “the more scared we are…the more sure we can be that we have to do it.” Which is why I examine closely the Top 10 Fears that hold us back from doing what we all must do…and that is giving others the recognition they deserve.

1. Fear of Rejection. What if you say the wrong things to someone? Maybe an expression of appreciation isn’t received well? No matter. None of the regular things you say on a daily basis are ever perfect soliloquies. Recognition is about others – so give it any way you can. Note that no one ever stops you from recognizing them.

2. Fear of Criticism. Never let any critic hold you back from the art and gift of recognizing others because this comes from inside of you. Let it out! Remember, wherever there are critics there are also encouragers in the wings. Don’t let others stop you from giving people what is rightfully theirs.

3. Fear of Incompetence. Too many people tell me that they don’t know how to give recognition to people, whether verbally or with the written word. The key is to realize recognition is about relationships and that it comes from the heart. Push this fear out of the way and sing people’s praises out loud.

4. Fear of Unprofessionalism. Saying thank you to people and communicating feelings to those who have made contributions is all about them. Recognition is not about professionalism. There are no standards or competency levels to be reached and maintained. You simply have to be yourself with others.

5. Fear of Expectation. There are no little angels from opposing camps on your shoulders telling you what to do or not do or how to share words of appreciation with those you work with. The only real expectation people have is to be respected and valued. Those values alone will let you speak the right words.

6. Fear of Perfectionism. Not one single employee has ever told me how perfect an acknowledgment they received was. The only condemnation heard, is when nothing is said at all. Nada. There is no “one way” to give praise or express appreciation. The perfect thing to actually do is to give freely.

7. Fear of Egocentricity. Oh yes, the fear of doing anything comes right from inside ourselves and limits us from the many pleasurable activities of life. Don’t get too caught up with yourself. Instead, think more about the person needing to be recognized. This is, after all, all about them and not you.

8. Fear of Others. But what will others think if I recognize one person and not the others? Honestly, I’ve heard this way too many times. Don’t ever let “others” both in reality or in your head, determine what you should say or do in any area of your life. Give recognition to one and all and have fun doing so.

9. Fear of Caring. Whoever said it is wrong to care about people at work? We can spend half, or more, of our waking hours at work. It is positive and needful to form caring relationships with others. Scrub this fear from your vocabulary. Instead, use it as a motivational force for caring gratitude.

10. Fear of Weakness. Talking about emotional, warm and fuzzy matters, can be seen by some (especially any macho stereotypic males) as a sign of weakness. The irony is, individuals who have mastered the art and practice of giving positive recognition the right way, are always viewed more positively by other people.

 

Previously published in Incentive Magazine.

Top 10 Solutions to Typical Recognition Program Problems

Whenever technology is involved there will always be bugs and glitches that get in the way. Likewise with recognition and reward programs. However, for the most part the biggest problem with recognition programs is not technology. It is the people factor and how recognition programs are used. Consider these Top 10 Solutions to Typical Recognition Program Problems to help you out.

  1. Poorly Planned Programs. Too many leaders launch recognition programs without a plan. Create a recognition strategy with purpose, philosophy and principles. Determine overall objectives you want to achieve with them. Then set specific, measurable goals so you know how to measure your progress. Develop an annual plan to improve the weak areas of your recognition programs.
  2. No Management Participation. Start right at the top by lobbying for an executive sponsor to champion the recognition cause. Show leaders how to use the programs and provide supports. Personally commit leaders to using recognition programs. Educate managers on recognition practices and using programs. Hold managers accountable for usage and monitor program reports.
  3. Lacking Consistent Usage. You have your recognition programs in place but managers and employees aren’t using them. Apathy and complacency are the enemies of using tools for what they were meant for. Set clear expectations for using the programs. Regularly communicate how to use programs and share positive examples of great recognition givers and their impact on people.
  4. Inability To Recognize. Recognition programs are simply tools for giving appreciation and recognition to other people. An effective user of recognition programs must already be effective in giving recognition face-to-face. Teach people the positive behaviors associated with giving people meaningful, memorable and motivational recognition. Expect people to apply these skills first.
  5. Too Achievement Focused. Some recognition programs are really reward or incentive programs labeled solely as recognition programs. That’s because rewards are being used to reinforce performance outcomes. This can create an entitlement mentality. Don’t forget to use recognition programs to express appreciation, acknowledge people, and communicate gratitude for everyone.
  6. Programs Remain Unknown. Sad to say it but there are companies with recognition programs that their employees don’t even know about. I’ve seen it when we get companies to inventory all the rogue programs that exist. Create a centralized strategy with some core programs and allow local programs to continue. Now brand, communicate and promote them everywhere you can.
  7. Unclear Program Expectations. Spell out the expectations for each type of recognition program. Social recognition programs connect people with each other and positive actions. Performance recognition programs reinforce positive behaviors and strategic goals. Milestone or service awards are a celebration of people’s contributions. Don’t expect the wrong things from different programs.
  8. Lousy Rewards Criteria. Recognition and reward programs can create problems when criteria for rewards are not clearly determined. What one person determines is above and beyond is different for someone else. Develop clear criteria for rewards based on whether the action was once or consistently done; the degree of impact of their actions; and who and where the impact was made.
  9. Big Hoopla Launch. Beware grand launching of new programs with big, glitz and full of pizzazz. Ask any IT department about introducing new software and they’ll tell you there are always bugs. Best advice I can give is if you start big you will end small; if you start small you will end big. Start with piloting the program in one division first. Iron out any program glitches before going company-wide.
  10. Not Creating ROI. Recognition programs can be a sitting duck for being reduced in scope or completely eliminated when seen just as a feel-good-activity. Your recognition programs must be aligned with your businesses goals and seen as a performance driver. Make sure you are fully using reports and analytics to correlate recognition with results and always calculate business impact and ROI.

 

This article was originally published in the Strategy column of September 2017 issue of Incentive Magazine.

 

Why People Don’t Do What You Want Them To

I love the work of Robert “Bob” Mager with his framework for preparing learning objectives, and criterion-referenced instruction (CRI), and for his work on dealing with performance problems.

If you haven’t already read his book “Analyzing Performance Problems” and the included process flow, you should. It is a valuable tool to invest in for figuring out why people aren’t doing what you think they should be doing.

According to Mager, there are potentially seven reasons why people drop the ball on performance results. I continue to see these seven reasons highlighted in my work with employee recognition, let alone why things don’t get done at home, or even within my community and church responsibilities.

Let’s take a closer look at these seven reasons. (more…)