The Most Important Thing You Need To Make Recognition Happen

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?

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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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Should Recognition Focus on Your People or the Business?

Managers of organizational recognition practices and recognition programs are often torn between focusing on growth of people or on business results.

You’ll find some organizations create elaborate people strategies to prepare for the growth and development of their employees. Talent management strategies prepare now for the future. And recognition is always a part of the equation, especially when measuring employee engagement.

Then there are others who are strictly business. Their goal is to align recognition and rewards with helping to drive and achieve the strategic initiatives of their business goals.

So, the question is whether, as the owner of recognition in your organization, should you focus on people of the business?

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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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How to Solve the Recognition Famine at Work

It seems there is a massive absence of recognition in the workplace.

In fact, you can call this absence a recognition famine because there is an extreme scarcity of people acknowledging, praising, and appreciating one another.

Gallup Organization has long stated that 67% of employees report not being recognized for doing good work in the last seven days.

In one healthcare organization I was consulting for I broke the frequency of recognition down in finer detail.

How often we receive recognition can be as important as how and who gives the recognition. I asked these healthcare employees how often they received recognition or praise from their immediate supervisor or manager for the work they do. The statement ended with “at least” and then the time frame statements of daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually, or not at all.

Only 11% of these healthcare employees stated they received recognition on a weekly basis, so well below the Gallup average of 33%. Another 33% indicated managers had recognized them within a month. But there was nearly another third of the employees who said managers never recognized them at all.

This is a crime.

Let me give you some ideas for stemming the recognition famine that might happen where you work.

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What Leaders Want to Know About Recognition

Vineet Nayar, an Indian business executive and former Chief Executive Officer of HCL Technologies, is the author of the critically acclaimed management book Employees First, Customers Second.

Nayar says that employees are the clear differentiator in the value zone for helping organizations grow faster and be more competitive. He further states that the business of leaders and management is to enthuse, encourage, and enable employees to continue creating this differentiating value for their customers.

Great leaders already know the power of employee recognition. But not everyone is like Vineet Nayar.

However, what all leaders want to know about recognition is four major points about the programs and practices that you are overseeing.

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