How To Find Out What Your Leaders Think of Recognition

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? 

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Why Leaders Need to Lead Out On Recognition

We all know recognition should be multi-directional in where it originates

Recognition is no longer dependent on being a top-down driven practice. Everyone, at every level, is responsible in valuing people and their contributions. 

But should your senior leaders at least be leading out with recognition? Let’s find out. 

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People Are Watching To See How You Recognize Others

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? 

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When Recognition and Rewards Are Not Top of Mind

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? 

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Teach Your Leaders How To Be Exemplary Recognizers

Recognition does not come naturally to everyone.

Leaders at the top of your organization should show the leadership competency skills that they expect from their direct reports. Leaders should help others to lead.

But that isn’t always the case.

Your goal for each organizational leader is to get them to inspire and value the contributions of one additional person every day.

How do you teach your leaders to be amazing recognizers of your staff?

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Who Is Leading Recognition In Your Organization?

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.

But are they managing or leading recognition?

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How To Help Your Leaders Stay on Top of Recognition

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.

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Beware of the Hidden Biases Around Employee Recognition

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 work?

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.

How well is your organization doing in this area?

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Convincing Your Leaders That Recognition is Easy to Do

Leaders play an important role as recognition givers throughout the entire organization.

However, not all leaders realize the impact they have on people through the simple act of expressing appreciation to people and recognizing their employees’ contributions.

Someone asked me to write how they could better convince their leaders that giving recognition was easy to do.

Explore the following suggestions to make recognition a leadership priority. 

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Why Are You Working So Hard on Recognition?

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 recognition.

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?

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