Take note for a week of the various ways people react after you or others give them recognition, whether in private or in public. It might surprise you the images you capture and the verbal responses you hear.
You might express the recognition face-to-face, remotely through video conferencing applications; in a written email, ecard or paper card; or through text based, audio- or video-messaged greeting on your organization’s recognition programs.
But how does the recipient respond?
Many people are uncomfortable being recognized. When you’ve been recognized what do you do? How accepting are you of the recognition?
It is hard to teach everyone how to give meaningful and effective recognition to one another, no matter the size of the organization you work for.
That’s why you need to enlist an army of people to aid you.
Dictionary.com explains that the more helpers you have available to you then the task will be easier. The proverb “many hands make light work” was reportedly first recorded in English in the early 1300s in a knightly romance known as Sir Bevis of Hampton. However, John Heywood, a 16th century writer known for his plays, poems, and collection of proverbs, is most often attributed as the originator of this proverb.
What can you do to teach other to help you teach people in your organization how to give amazing recognition to one another?
Recognition is such a positive thing to give and receive that you would think teaching people how to give recognition to others should be easy.
But different studies such as from Gallup show that only a third of employees ever receive recognition in any week for doing outstanding work.
People always submit lots of reasons as an explanation for this recognition deficit. However, one dominant answer is not knowing how to give recognition to people the right way.
Adam Grant, the award-winning researcher and Wharton School professor, gives a probable reason teaching people to give recognition is not as easy as we think it is. From his research and book, Give and Take, he shows that in our interactions with others most people operate as either takers, matchers, or givers.
Takers work at getting as much as they can from others while matchers look to evenly trade between one another. It’s the givers who are the rare breed of people who contribute to others expecting nothing in return.
It would appear from this research that perhaps giving recognition is already easier for those who are natural givers than for those who are takers or matchers.
What can we learn from these givers that can help us teach all types of employees to more easily give 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?
Most recognition strategies and plans for recognition depend on moving the bar on whatever metrics you have for program usage and employee perception of recognition.
The gap analysis of where your recognition status is today and where you want it to be tomorrow relies on the program metrics you have. The challenging part about program usage metrics is that they are all lagging indicator measures.
Lagging indicators do just that, they lag behind on indicating whether you achieved the results you wanted. By the time you get the output measures on a program, it’s hard to do anything about them that will make a future change.
Is there anything you can really do that can change this? Is there one important thing you can do that will make recognition happen?
One way to make recognition happen more frequently is to make it visible. When recognition is more conspicuous as a principle throughout the entire organization, it’s easier to make recognition more a way of life than just a program.
Creating visibility for recognition requires both an individual and organizational focus. Does your organization have a low, medium, or high level of recognition visibility?
Examine the following areas to see what you can do to have recognition more visible.