One of my most exciting accomplishments has been working with Dr. Charles Scherbaum from Baruch College, SUNY. Together, we examined the various behaviors and attitudes associated with giving meaningful and effective recognition. Then we conducted the content validity research for our Recognition Skills Assessment® and we found out some very interesting results.
We enlisted recognition subject matter experts to score the level of importance for each behavior and attitude on a Likert scale. They did the same action for scoring the level of impact they felt these behaviors and attitudes had on people and performance.
The outcome of our studies showed very different perspectives for giving effective recognition than I had imagined. From what we learned, I can give you the top five essential actions and attitudes needed for giving effective recognition.
Each of us has our own strengths and weaknesses in the plethora of skills needed to make a successful workplace.
Yet, with recognizing people, many think that all you have to do is say, “thank you” and you’re done.
The fact is that there are oodles of behaviors to discover and learn about with giving recognition the right way. And that’s why I recommend you learn one behavior at a time. Get some mastery behind each behavior and become a confident recognition giver.
Many of you have heard of my three factors for giving recognition: Values, Skills, and Awareness.
If you put these three factors into a Venn diagram of three overlapping circles, you see some interesting insights that help you understand what’s going on in your organization.
I will guide you through what each of these factors means and the different outcomes that happen when you only have certain combinations of each of these factors. Then I will share some ideas on how you can strengthen each of these factors to make giving recognition a natural reaction.
Each of us has varying levels of confidence and proficiency with being able to recognize those you live with and especially those you work with.
For some, they had upbeat and positive parents, teachers, and coaches, who inspired them to grow and be successful. They regularly received words of encouragement, appropriate praise, and recognition for their accomplishments.
Others had life situations where they always needed to overcome negativity, received put downs at school, and a lack of sincere concern for the welfare of others. Even where they worked had toxic bosses and a lack of appreciation for their contributions.
No matter the route you took in life, or the role models you had in your life, they now expect you appropriately praise and recognize your employees.
But we all have different abilities and attitudes around giving meaningful and effective recognition.
Here we are with another New Year and I want to
share with you the Top 10 Posts for 2019.
I will reflect along with you on why perhaps you and many other readers read these more than other posts that didn’t quite make the top rankings.
In tenth position was the post How to Help a Leader Who’s Not a Good Recognizer. Obviously, this leadership focused article resonated with many of you who need some ideas and help with coaching the challenged leader to become a better recognizer of peers and staff.
Leaders are not always in their position for
their people skills—although they certainly help—and for that reason
they often have more left-brain, executive functioning and logical skills.
Some, not all, need a helping hand to get the people skills down and realize
how important recognition is to the people that work for them.
Most organizations have some formal award
programs going on. But few organizations set objectives for what they want to
achieve from conducting nomination submissions and planning awards events.
I didn’t expect this post to rank as high as it did. It seems many of you wanted to learn how they select Oscar awards winners so How Oscar Awards Nominations Are Selected came in at number eight. Recognition professionals are always looking to benchmark against best practices, so I hope you gain some insights from this post.
The Oscars always share the public limelight on
what people think an awards ceremony should look like. Understanding how the
award winners are selected might help you raise or lower your own
expectations on how you should determine your award recipients.
I think we’re hitting on soft skills here
and how they are not as easy as they seem. Giving meaningful feedback is
something all of us can become better at.
For those of you who haven’t created a written recognition strategy document yet, our sixth ranked post of A Quick and Easy Recognition Strategy to Get You Going should help you out. It is better to have a basic document in place to guide you along than not having a strategy at all.
Make sure you become more intentional and
strategic with your recognition practices and programs. This post’s ranking
probably reflects the need for an easy way to write up a recognition strategy.
The whole preparation and planning required to
make recognition programs successful is not something a lot of organizations do
well. Everyone wants to get more employees using their programs more
I am so glad my post on Why Being Specific Increases the Value of Recognition made it to third place. It validates for me that many of you see the importance and need for recognition specificity. Put this into practice and teach others to do the same and recognition will go a long way to becoming improved.
Recognition specificity is one of my favorite
topics around recognition giving. Intuitively, many of you know it is important
but just want to know how to do it better.
Second on the ranking list was the post on What Your Leaders Can Do to Lead Recognition. It tires many of you to fight the recognition battles alone. You need leaders to step up to the plate and make a strategic pitch for the cause of employee recognition.
A bit of a surprise for me was seeing this post
in number two position. But it paints a picture that we desperately need
leadership around employee recognition.
Be constantly learning the essential recognition
skills and behaviors to give meaningful recognition. Understand the importance
of your recognition programs and humanize your interaction with the programs to
better connect with and value your employees.
Happy New Year to everyone. Become a better real
recognition giver this year.
Recognition Reflection: What insights can you gain from the usage of your recognition programs over the past year?
Roy is no longer writing new content for this site (he has retired!), but you can subscribe to Engage2Excel’s blog as Engage2Excel will be taking Roy’s place writing about similar topics on employee recognition and retention, leadership and strategy.
When thinking about designing great corporate learning curriculums, here’s what the late Peter Drucker once said, “Our most important education system is in the employee’s own organization.”
However, most organizations have not woken up to the fact they’re also an educational system besides whatever goods and services they produce.
Consider these factoids to give you a perspective:
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that employers with fewer than 100 employees provided only 0.8 hour––that’s only 12 minutes of manager training per six-month period. And,
Organizations with 100-500 employees provided only 0.9 hour (6 minutes) of training for the same time span.
Further, a survey by Progressive Business Publications found only 52% of companies trained their managers once a year or less.
Designing a learning curriculum that will teach people to give meaningful and effective recognition to everyone they work with, looks to be a daunting task. What can you do to change these poor numbers and make recognition a driving force in your organization? (more…)
Have you tried to train your people on how to give better recognition and it didn’t work? Were you able to measure the transfer of learning back to the job? What was the business impact of the recognition education delivered? Have employees reported improved recognition?
There are many reasons why educating and training managers and employees on recognition giving can fail. Authors and education experts, Tim Mooney and Robert O. Brinkerhoff, suggest bold actions for achieving business results in their book, Courageous Training. They provide a useful list of eleven possible causes for training failure.
I will unpack each one of these causes and then discuss how it relates specifically to employee recognition training. I want you to overcome the typical problems associated with training people effective recognition skills. (more…)