With my speaking, training, and consulting with organizational leaders and managers in 13 countries, I have seen exactly what it takes to have success with any employee recognition initiatives.
I often speak of the need for alignment, consistency with recognition, the quality of recognition, and the level of impact recognition has on people and performance. Yet, one important element that must be present is having a senior leader who will move mountains for you and advocate for the cause of recognition.
How do they make a difference? Let’s count a few of the ways.
It doesn’t happen very often. But every once in a while, you find an exceptional leader who changes the course of employee recognition in an organization.
Their example and positive actions influence andaffect recognition practices by those around them and the usage of recognition programs by everyone. This influence is powerful and important in changing the way recognition plays out in an organization.
Here are some specific examples and some observations from others.
We are approaching the last quarter of the year and it may well be time to submit your budget requests for keeping your offline and online recognition programs in place, or even asking for funding to add new programs.
It can seem like a nail biting exercise each year to go through. One way to make this angst less ominous is to get your executive sponsor’s support ahead of time. Follow these practical ways to get your leader’s commitment to your recognition program budget.
If there is one major thing that will help propel recognition forward, it’s having your senior leaders aligned with your recognition strategy.
As a manager and leader of recognition in your organization, your role is to help get your executive sponsor to agree to your recognition strategy and plans, and then assist you with how best to execute it.
These are some thoughts and practical steps you can take to get your recognition champion aligned on recognition.
In my earlier life as a speech-language pathologist, I vividly recall an external consultant coming into the hospital I worked at analyzing our organizational challenges. We brainstormed and followed his facilitated methods to let some potential plans and goals unfold.
And so, our creative content on the flip chart sheets was all typed up and distributed to the attendees. That’s where they sat, so it seemed, for many months. I told our hospital’s CEO that there was a problem with this consultant’s work. They set nothing up for implementing the plans.
I recently finished helping a client’s organization team in drafting a recognition plan to address their gaps with recognition practices and recognition programs. I nicely printed everything up in a flow chart looking model.
I will not leave them alone with this document. I have prescribed a method for how to implement their recognition plan so they will achieve success.
Clearly inform leaders, managers, and employees of each program offering in your recognition and reward platform.
Unfortunately, not everyone uses all of your recognition programs well. Communicate and educate about program options and their benefits continually.
Sometimes, there’s a mindset that rewards are recognition. When this happens, people give rewards out too freely when expressions of recognition are better suited. And the inverse is also true. If an employee truly excels and goes above and beyond and merits a reward, they end up receiving recognition instead and might feel deflated and unvalued.
When you are dealing with online recognition and reward programs, you must inform everyone what they have available to them.
Many of us have worked solely from home during the pandemic. Organizational leaders are now working hard to get people back to the office and plant floors. And some organizations are trialling a hybrid approach of working so many days at work and the balance from home.
However, in all this array of work arrangements, one thing has emerged that was not expected. Employees missed seeing their senior and executive leaders. Nearly 30% of employees during recent focus groups at a healthcare organization suggested leadership presence as one way they could improve employee recognition. Sometimes, the absence of senior leaders has taken a negative toll.
What are you doing to address leaders who appear to be missing in action?
I have judged nominations submitted to Recognition Professionals International (RPI) to merit their Best Practices Awards for the last 15 years. When you get to see what organizations are doing to comply with RPI’s seven best practice standards, you learn a great deal.
One thing I have observed of late is that leaders are getting more involved with their organization’s recognition strategies. They are recommending various forms of recognition program frameworks, or models, to ensure their recognition programs are successful.
Let me explain what a recognition program framework could look like.
One area repeatedly comes up weak when I assess many organizations on their recognition practices and programs. That missing element is recognition, and they barely touched upon it in their leadership development curriculum.
True, they may or may not have online education on effective recognition practices. And they might have a few tutorials on how to use their various recognition programs.
But with educating and training leaders on effective recognition giving, the well is often dry.