Heading every organization is a senior leadership team.
They play a critical role in providing strategic and operational leadership for your organization. And they also play an essential role in representing the organizational culture and showing what leadership should look like, by how they interact with one another and with employees.
They often leave your task to “read minds” on how each leader thinks about recognition. Hopefully, you have an exemplary executive sponsor who is a cheerleader and champion for the cause of employee recognition to draw upon.
But in a general sense, how do you find out what each of your executive leaders think about recognition?
Employees know if you are an exemplary leader at giving recognition.
They even tally up in their minds who you have recognized and who you haven’t. You’ll find there is a collective psyche that calculates if you have a positive or negative relationship strength with your employees or not.
The quality and level of this relationship strength affects how recipients and peers perceive the recognition.
Are people watching how you recognize employees? What would their observations say about the recognition you give to people? How do you measure up in the eyes of your employees?
How do you get leaders to be more aware of the importance of recognition and rewards?
Too often, recognition and rewards and the programs you have in place are not top of mind for many people. And when employees themselves are not on board with recognizing others, you know you’ve got a problem.
What does it take to raise the importance and value of recognition and rewards?
It is an interesting question to ask. Who is the leader in your organization who leads recognition practices and programs?
More often than not, people will point you to Human Resources. Or it could be an offshoot from there such as compensation and benefits. Occasionally, you will find out communications is at the helm, often paired with marketing. And if it involves sales in your industry, you’ll have the sales folks to deal with.
Hopefully, you have a supportive executive leader who acts as your sponsor or champion for the cause of employee recognition where you work. You never want recognition to become out of sight and then out of their mind.
The only reason recognition would ever disappear off of your leader’s radar screen is if you take it off yourself.
That’s why it is so important to help your leaders stay on top of everything that’s going on with employee recognition.
Here are some great ways to keep recognition top of mind for your leaders.
When was the last time you reviewed your recognition and reward program data to see if there is any tendency toward hidden biases?
A hidden—or implicit—bias is defined as a preference for, or
against, a person, thing, or group, which is held at an unconscious level. This
means you and I don’t even know our minds are holding onto this bias. In
contrast, an overt—or explicit—bias is an attitude or prejudice which is very
much endorsed at a conscious level.
For example, what is the proportion of
recognition or reward recipients who are male versus female, with respect
to your employee gender ratio? Are rewards given more often to one gender over
another? Is there any general ratio between white and non-white employees? Do
disabled staff equally merit and receive recognition and rewards for exemplary
Perhaps we all need to ask these kinds of
question when identifying whether hidden biases exist in our recognition and
reward practices and programs.
If there are certain principles that
keep recognition and rewards open it is fairness and equity.
Each organization has at
least one person in their midst who doesn’t get it with employee recognition.
Which is why when I was in a meeting this week with several representatives from an organization I am working with, someone boldly asked me a question related to a person who is likely a non-recognizer. This courageous individual asked, how do you respond to people who ask, “Why are you working so hard on recognition?”
They are asking how do
you address naysayers in an organization. They want to know how they should
stand up to these types of people and substantiate the merit of the
time and effort they are putting into the cause of improving employee
How do should you respond to someone like this who is negative, opinionated, and sometimes even derails your efforts to make recognition happen in your organization?