Leaders often barrage their managers of recognition with criticism over a lack of participation and usage of their organization’s employee recognition programs.
Naturally, not all organizations have participation problems. Some are exemplary. They have fought hard for that position. It did not come about easily, nor did it happen overnight.
But never let those who do not understand the intricacies and gifts of what it takes to make recognition happen, believe that they are the “real” recognition givers and know exactly what it takes to get full participation with recognition programs.
Instead, remind them that first things must come first. Teach them how to give recognition one-on-one, whether in person, or by all the communication methods available to them
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?
If you want to get everyone giving better and more effective recognition to people, you will probably have to educate and train them on how to do that the right way.
However, before you even start any education and training to teach recognition giving skills, there are a few things you should do beforehand to guarantee success. These preparatory steps will help you to get people ready to give better recognition.
Check out this list and put at least one step into practice this coming month.
There are a lot of things the current pandemic has affected with how we use our recognition and reward programs.
Many organizations affected by the pandemic economically have reduced revenue because of shutting down production, a lack of sales, and the impact on clients affording goods and services.
The bottom-line outcome is companies cannot always afford to pay for rewards as they normally would.
People have asked for guidance on how to communicate to their teams the need to prioritize no or low-cost recognition options versus use of rewards in view of the financial reality. They also don’t want to give a negative viewpoint.
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.
A few years ago, some managers at a particular
company reached out to a Rideau colleague of mine and me to have a telephone
meeting with them. These were young leaders in the making and were part of this
company’s emerging leaders’ program. They wanted to learn more about
employee recognition and specifically about our recognition programs at Rideau.
Later, we were invited to attend an
on-site meeting at the company head office. There we connected with these
managers and their peers from across North America, both face-to-face and
While they were from various departments and
held a variety of positions within the company, it was fascinating seeing
the light go on for them, and their asking thought-provoking questions
about employee recognition.
Their emerging leader program project required
them to seek insights on best practices, creating a recognition strategy, and
what programs would work best for their managers and employees.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every organization
desired to develop their managers through an emerging recognition
Some people seem to be just
a natural when they are out and about in the company as far as
appreciating people for who they are and recognizing the wonderful
contributions made by employees.
There will always be others who have a much
harder time in recognizing others. For whatever reasons, such as not being
recognized as a child, perhaps more introverted, or plain uncomfortable with
knowing what to say or do, recognition doesn’t happen.
But the great news is that giving awesome
recognition to people is a skill anyone can learn.
When you know what something hard to do looks
like, such as a new skill you have to learn, observe those people that do it
well. Then all you have to do is reverse engineer how they do the task or skill
and then you can replicate this ideal performance and do it yourself.
What does awesome recognition look like? How can
you learn to master this art and science of giving meaningful and effective
When you think
education and training is the next steps to take with making real recognition
happen where you work, there are a few things to take into consideration first
before planning the training program.
In fact, if you
prepare yourself and the prospective learners properly, then they will better
learn how to give more meaningful and effective recognition to those they work
preparation also impacts those involved in designing and developing the
learning curriculum and planning the right methods of delivery.
Let’s get ready
to educate your employees about recognizing one another the right way.