They are the most valuable possessions in the world to the people who receive them.
Awards straddle between recognition and rewards in that they recognize an individual or team and may include a trophy and a reward. For what we will discuss here, they also provide a means to publicly honor the best of the best either through earned merit, length of service, or through an adjudication of a nomination.
People will dress up for award events. They may even take the day off to prepare. People look forward to awarding ceremonies for weeks ahead.
You should know by now that award presentations are a big deal and so you had better get them right. Here’s how to prepare to give an effective award presentation.
WorldatWork surveyed their members and found that the average organization uses eight separate recognition programs. That’s a lot!
However, what they don’t state is how well people use those recognition programs, either by leaders or by their employees. The secret to using these programs properly is to help your leaders better understand the value and importance of employee recognition.
How can you get your leaders on board, and what do they first need to know about employee recognition?
When I assist company leaders in creating a recognition strategy, I take them through defining and crafting a purpose statement and philosophy statement as part of their strategy design.
Essentially, I am asking them to answer the question, why are you doing recognition?
WorldatWork asked the same question and received the following responses. These are the top seven of the 17 choices people had to select from.
1. Create/maintain a culture of recognition
2. Create/maintain a positive work environment
3. Reinforce desired behaviors
4. Increase employee engagement
5. Support organizational mission/values
6. Motivate high performance
7. Increase retention or decrease employee turnover
You can ask the same “why” question about giving rewards, too. Why are you giving rewards if you are combining them in a recognition and rewards program? Not enough people stop to define their reasons or purpose for giving rewards besides recognition.
Career milestone award or service
award recognition programs have been around for many years.
Over those years there have been
the customary plaques, symbolic crystal awards, and gold watches—and these used
to start when a person reached 25-years of service.
But as tenure reduced significantly
with economy and business changes, and retention of employees was harder to
maintain, career milestones now begin at 5 years and 5-year increments
thereafter. Today, you will find many companies now start career milestones at
an employee’s first year of service.
The reality is, whether you give an
employee something tangible or not, they always have a workplace anniversary
every single year.
How do you plan to make the next
round of your milestone recognition celebrations more meaningful and effective?
I love reading
the latest business books and business magazines that inspire me to think about
employee recognition in a fresh new way.
For example, in the September-October Harvard Business Review (HBR) there’s a great article on Put Your Purpose at the Core of Your Strategy by Thomas W. Malnight, professor at IMD, Ivy Buche, associate director, Business Transformation Initiative at IMD, and Charles Dhanaraj, a professor at Temple University.
Now, as you
would expect from HBR, these academics are addressing purpose as it relates to
business strategies. But I instantly saw the application of the principles in
this article towards creating a recognition strategy.
When you think
education and training is the next steps to take with making real recognition
happen where you work, there are a few things to take into consideration first
before planning the training program.
In fact, if you
prepare yourself and the prospective learners properly, then they will better
learn how to give more meaningful and effective recognition to those they work
preparation also impacts those involved in designing and developing the
learning curriculum and planning the right methods of delivery.
Let’s get ready
to educate your employees about recognizing one another the right way.
I have seen
where after a poor performance on the recognition measures of a recent employee
engagement survey that the CEO tells all the leaders and managers to go out
there and give more recognition to people.
You can probably
guess why the senior leader asked them to do that. The reason was to
improve the recognition scores on the next engagement survey.
from on high doesn’t work.
recognition to the people you work with for the sake of the numbers is not why
you want to recognize others more.
It is not about
numbers and measuring the occurrence of recognition. It is about giving
recognition more purposefully.
There will always be horror stories around recognition programs if you don’t start off on the right foot.
And the irony of it all is the challenges most often come with the misnomer of calling these problematic programs “recognition programs”. Problems with errant programs usually lies when using rewards, be they tangible merchandise, cash, or near cash rewards.
So, get recognition programs right so there is equity and fairness with non-monetary and intangible recognition and tangible and monetary rewards accompanying these recognition programs.
There is also a need for authenticity and inclusiveness with the expressions of recognition given to people through your programs, whether this is by text, spoken word, or video. Recognition must be genuine and sincere in both intent and how it is communicated to a person. We should give regard to all employees who contribute day in and day out and not focus solely on the rising stars whose performance always exceeds the standards of most employees.
Recognition is for everyone.
You must make sure you get your recognition programs right.