How To Get Emerging Leaders Involved With Recognition

You find yourself stuck with finding the resources you need to help with your recognition plans. 

Your organizational leaders want you to strategize how to make recognition a stronger tool to use within talent management and creating a positive employee experience. In the meantime, you must continue to manage the recognition programs, encourage managers to give recognition to employees they rarely see in person, and keep leaders informed of the ROI of employee recognition.

Why not team up with your organization or learning and development leaders and find out if your needs for recognition could become a goal for a team of emerging leaders? 

This is exactly what happened to us when an organization approached a colleague and I about presenting our thoughts and strategy around employee recognition in the retail industry.

The following happened, and you can follow these steps as a playbook to implement where you work.  

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What Your Leaders Need To Better Understand Recognition

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? 

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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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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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Are You Really Giving People Recognition on Purpose?

Do you know why you recognize people?

If you haven’t thought about why you appreciate and recognize people, take some time out to articulate your beliefs and reasons for recognizing the people you work, play, and live with.

For me it is about appreciating people for who they are, independent of any work they do, and valuing everything that a person brings with them to the workplace. It’s about recognizing people for all that they do—both the insignificant and the amazing things people do. 

Recognition is about valuing people and their contributions. It is the transferring of positive feelings and emotions from one person to another, in response to an employee’s positive behaviors or actions.

What is your purpose for giving 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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Top 10 Recognition Posts for 2019

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.

The topic in ninth position is How to Increase the Impact of Your Formal Award Programs, which I know many of you want desperately to improve and stand out. There are some basic steps you can follow, and I hope you can make them come alive in 2020.

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.

In seventh position we have a leadership focus again and this time it’s on feedback. What Makes Giving Feedback So Difficult for Leaders? provides you with some perspective and actions you can take to assist those having difficulty with this area.

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.

It seems some of us need pointers on overcoming our discomfort with giving recognition. In fact, our fifth post on Why Are We So Uncomfortable Giving Recognition to People? gives great reminders for why some of us find recognition giving an awkward experience.

The reality of this post’s ranking is the human tendency that expressing emotions and validating the great things people around us do is more difficult than we think.

There are probably many organizations that would enjoy our fourth ranked post on How to Get Employees to Use Your Recognition Programs. It takes constant effort to communicate, educate, and exemplify great program usage to have employees follow in our footsteps.

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 frequently.

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.

And the top-ranked post for 2019 was… How To Improve Recognition With A Great Learning Curriculum. This shows the need from many of you to have ongoing learning and development on recognition practices and using programs properly.

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?

How To Create a One-Page Recognition Strategy

A recognition strategy is a written document that outlines the purpose, direction, goals, and plans, for you and your organizational leaders to commit to doing, and make recognition giving a way of life and not just a program.

However, according to the latest WorldatWork 2019 Trends in Employee Recognition Survey, only 49 percent of the surveyed organizations have a written recognition strategy.

For that reason, I am helping you with how to create a written one-page recognition strategy to ensure you have something rather than nothing.

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Why Do Companies Not Have a Recognition Strategy?

If you haven’t already heard, there are fewer companies today than 2 years ago that have a written recognition strategy. Wow! That’s a shame.

According to the latest WorldatWork 2019 Trends in Employee Recognition, only 49 percent of the organizations they surveyed have a written recognition strategy. Fortunately, for the nearly half of these organizations with a recognition strategy, 97 percent are aligned with their organization’s business strategy.

The surprising thing was seeing how the percentage of organizations with a recognition strategy declined from 55 percent in 2017 to 49 percent in 2019. I really thought more organizations would commit to writing one. But, alas, I was wrong.

Why would organizations not have a recognition strategy? Let’s examine some possible reasons why this occurs.

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