Okay. Let’s be real candid here.
Most of your recognition programs will not cut it with your high performers, your senior leaders, your top sales people or other high-ranking professionals.
Giving points, sending nominations, or even giving them a $25 to $100 gift award won’t do it, thank you!
Never pretend your traditional recognition and reward programs appreciated by the 80% majority of your employees are going to appeal to a private banker, the top pharmaceutical salesperson, or the executive vice president of finance.
There are some ways to recognize them though. And I am going to share two amazing ways with you on how to recognize these high performers.
Everyone Wants To Be Recognized In Some Way Or Another
Here’s the secret to remember. All of these special, high performing people still like to be recognized.
It’s true. They just don’t want the same kind of recognition as everyone else.
Therein is your answer and the solution to recognizing the crème de la crème of your organization.
I recommend you draw upon the “Pedestal and Prestige Factors”.
These leaders and top performers are where they are because they are at the top of their game, whatever it is, and they are simply the best at what they do.
For the most part, and certainly this is very stereotypical, a high performer’s favorite type of recognition is being seen above everyone else.
What can you do to make this happen for them?
That’s where the two-factor recognition equation comes in.
Understanding the Pedestal Factor of Recognition
First, I want you to consider the Pedestal part of this two-factor equation.
How can you put a top performer on a Pedestal that is meaningful to them?
Consider these three ways of raising the bar and highlighting a professional’s accomplishments:
1. Honoring Organizational “Leaders”. Use all the internal communication channels available to you to broadcast top performer’s outstanding contributions. Call them up on your awards night with the CEO and have him or her acknowledge them. The key here is to elevate this professional in the eyes of all of their peers.
2. Highlight Exemplary Achievements. Often their great achievements are par for the course for top performers. Once a top performer, always a top performer. But many other aspiring employees would like to know how they got to where they are. Sharing the story of how that leader got there and maintained their level of proficiency is often unknown. Yet there are lessons they could share that many others could benefit from.
They are great at what they do for a reason. Discover their secrets and the patterns of success, and with their personal permission, share this with others using a variety of communication mediums.
3. Promote Accomplishments Externally Too. Make sure the national daily paper hears about your top performer’s achievements or simply pay for an ad recognizing them. In the variety of professional associations the top performers belong to nominate them for the right award or at least send a press release of what they have done for the association news column. This is all about blowing the horn outside of the company.
Utilizing the Prestige Factor of Recognition
Then there is the Prestige factor to this two-part formula of recognizing leaders and high performers.
It is all about drawing upon their reputation or the influence coming from the success they’ve achieved.
How can you make their expertise have greater prominence within the company?
Experiment with using these three strategies to create the Prestige Factor.
1. Proving Through Stretch Opportunities. Give them new and challenging work assignments to tackle the difficult and hard to reach company goals. Draw upon their vast knowledge and experience to generate innovative solutions. Tap into their creative and divergent thinking skills to go deeper on company projects.
2. Provide Positive Professional Relationships. Birds of a feather flock together so create opportunities for them to associate with other top performers and senior leaders within the company. Don’t neglect funding membership in leading professional associations and encouraging them to get involved in leadership positions in these organizations.
3. Parking Spots to Business Cards. It’s amazing how the prestigious perquisites like a name plated parking spot or specially designed business cards can be such a meaningful marker for top performers, but they are. Find out, the same as for anyone else, what their personal likes, dislikes and preferences are and use this to recognize them even better.
Your leaders and top performers are at a completely different level than the average employee when it comes to achievements and recognition.
Which is why you must ensure that the type of recognition you provide them with is at a much higher level of appreciation as well.
Q: How do you demonstrate a higher level of recognition and acknowledgement of senior leaders and top performers?
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.