My purpose for this post is to convince you to make some changes. Strive to build positive relationships on a regular basis with your employees. This is an essential practice to develop in order to improve the value of nonmonetary recognition.
When you have a positive relationship with your staff, you are creating a foundation on which to build employee recognition, employee engagement, and a complete employee experience. This positive relationship strength between a giver of recognition and the recipient helps to enhance the value of the recognition and show the authenticity of the recognition expressed.
I’m going to share with you some principles to apply in fostering a more positive relationship with your employees and those you work with.
Reluctance in giving people the recognition they deserve comes from a fear of being rejected, and lack of preparation with recognizing people, and not having the proper mindset or the skills to give recognition. Resistance is normal and to be expected.
If you have reluctance to recognize well deserving peers and staff, you might procrastinate and put off sending an ecard or calling them up to praise them. You might repeatedly over-prepare, such that what you should say or what you should write to express recognition doesn’t happen, and you put it off.
You may second guess yourself and anticipate how you think the recipient will react and respond to the recognition you give them.
If you continue to ignore your reluctance to recognize those around you, and those who report to you, you could see employee performance bottom out and potentially see staff leave to go work where they will feel better appreciated.
Imagine if each person gave recognition just one percent better than the last time that they recognized someone. That’s all it takes to enhance your recognition practices and optimize the usage of your recognition programs. One percent improvement is all it takes. And here are some ways for you to give better recognition than anyone else every day.
Start your workday off by sending out or giving a thought of gratitude. Even if it is only one person you communicate with, imagine the difference you will make. Don’t open up your email inbox until you have emailed a message or spoken gratitude to someone.
Actively smile whenever you greet someone and especially when you recognize them. Whether face-to-face or virtually through the various video conference tools, a smile engages people and sends positive, emotional, non-verbal communication.
Ensure you make eye contact with people you express recognition to. When two people make eye contact when communicating, their brains actually synchronize emotional brainwaves and it enhances the receptiveness to what they said.
Be enthusiastic and use a positive tone of voice when verbally recognizing others. A positive tone of voice conveys the words communicated in a healthier and better way. Work to be more excited about the recognition you give, and people will feel it.
Use the person’s name in the text boxes of your online recognition programs. It is easy to neglect using a person’s name in an online program because you have selected who the message or ecard is going to. But people read the message in the box, so use it.
In text, writing, or speech, tell people specifically what you’re recognizing them for. Refrain from using the too short and sweet generic statements with your recognition. Tell them exactly what it was you noticed that impressed you. They really want to know.
In the same manner, be specific about how the person’s actions impacted others. Too often people do not know how their positive actions affected others. Share the impact their behaviors had on a peer, a customer, their boss, or for the company.
Work on using positive vocabulary versus neutral words when recognizing people. Stop using words like, “good job” or “well done.” The words “good” and “well” are neutral. And being more specific, eliminates “job,” and “done”. Get more creative. Be amazing!
Leave a voice mail message for someone expressing your thanks for their work. Try after hours to leave a voice mail message expressing your appreciation for the work an employee has done. It may surprise you how long people keep these messages and replay them.
Write a well written thank-you card or note to recognize people each day. If you write one card or note a day to any employee in the organization who has affected you, you will make a tremendous difference. Those cards become keepers, and people often reread them.
Develop Your Organization’s Recognition Plan of Action
You are getting really close to having not only a well-articulated recognition purpose and philosophy statement but also a solid recognition action plan to guide your organization on its recognition journey.
Having a recognition action plan takes your recognition strategy beyond your organization’s purpose and beliefs for recognition. Now you have a complete strategy that will become a powerful tool for propelling recognition practices and programs and also driving your culture and helping to achieve your business strategy.
Next comes your Recognition Plan. Your recognition plan is going to come from the gap analysis from your recognition assessment. A recognition assessment allows you to see on paper the strengths and weaknesses of your recognition practices, programs, policies, and procedures.
Try out these focused actions as you lead others to give better and more frequent recognition. You will gain great enthusiasm and confidence for championing the cause of recognition in your organization. You’ll also help those you work with to better focus on giving recognition.
Choose one focus area that you can take on in the coming month.
Focus on being mindful of recognition. Be mindful of recognition by paying attention in every moment to amazing things people do that merit recognition. A timely response, a helpful solution, a kind gesture, or making a difference.
Focus on one recognition goal at a time. No one can do everything. Focus on achieving just one recognition goal. Whether programmatic or supportive, enlisting the help of others is easier when finding one thing to do better than anything else.
Focus on calendaring recognition activities. Clear the calendar and slot in recognition activities you need to work on. Program analysis, communication planning, learning content, etc. – plug into your calendar to get done vs. a to-do list.
Focus on a specific recognition task. Try out using two-week sprints to make things happen. Break down quarterly goals into monthly activities and then two specific tasks to work on every two-weeks. You’ll be surprised at what you can do.
Focus on leading indicators of recognition. We rely on lagging indicators like usage reports to make changes. But what proceeds every recognition activity. Now target these specific behaviors and increase personal connections for recognition.
Focus on your recognition strategy. Your recognition strategy outlines your recognition purpose and beliefs. It’s also a plan for improving recognition practices and programs. Review your strategy monthly and report on progress quarterly.
Focus on using recognition to support. Work with your senior leaders and review the business and people strategies to see how recognition can help. Revise and plan how to leverage recognition to drive various organizational initiatives.
Focus on practicing recognition daily. There is no better way to stay focused on recognition than by studying recognition principles and improving your recognition practices. Then look for ways to give better and more frequent recognition daily.
Focus on using your recognition programs. Go to your recognition programs first thing every day to see comments in the recognition news feed. Check out who has a birthday or a career milestone. Actively comment on posts and like what you see.
Focus on encouraging one person at a time. Eat, breathe, and talk about recognition in your meetings. Teach one principle or practice that someone else shared with you or found through research with one other person each day.
Creating a Recognition Purpose and Philosophy Statement—Part 2 of 4
I’ve outlined the reasons why you should have a written recognition strategy for your organization. But where do you begin with creating one?
Organizations need a North Star to guide their recognition efforts. Which makes the first step in crafting a recognition strategy as creating a recognition purpose statement and accompanying philosophy statement.
Having a recognition purpose and philosophy statement unifies organizational leaders and those responsible for employee recognition practices and programs. It gets everyone nodding their heads in agreement with what they have outlined. Everyone is on the same page as to why you have recognition and what you believe about it.
In life, I strive for a basic level of minimalism. I still have a lot of things, but I continually get rid of some things I no longer need or use so I can focus more on what’s most important to me—such as family, friends, joy, and freedom. Minimalism can make a real difference.
However, when expressing recognition to the people you and I work with, there is no need for minimalism with how you communicate your praise and appreciation to them. That means, as I have said before, that those meaningless, short phrases like “good job” and “well done,” don’t work.
If you’re still using them, you’ve gone too far with decluttering your recognition messaging.
This post is all about showing you the importance of telling people the difference their positive actions make on others.
There are lots of studies done revealing how leaders are doing with giving meaningful and effective recognition to their employees.
The Canadian firm, Psychometrics, found in their Study of Employee Engagement in the Canadian Workplace that 58 percent of employees say leaders giving more recognition would improve employee engagement.
In my research with the Survey Findings of Employee Recognition in the Public Sector, managers who responded, overwhelmingly stated that senior leader involvement with employee recognition was very or extremely important (93 percent). However, the reality reveals only 21 percent of leaders are very involved, a sign that people who make the organizations run are not seen as important or valued.
Gallup research shows nearly one-quarter of employees said the most memorable recognition comes from a high-level leader or CEO. They suggest that employees will always remember personal feedback from the CEO. When a high-ranking leader takes time to show appreciation, it can yield a positive impression for an employee that could last a lifetime. In fact, acknowledgment from a CEO could become a career highlight.
What we are seeing is the need for senior leaders to become better at giving recognition. Let’s explore some ways for getting there.