I have always appreciated Gary Keller and Jay Papasan’s book, The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth About Extraordinary Results and the impact it has had on my business and personal life.
This is the principle I will draw upon for guiding you in determining your overall goal for employee recognition in the coming year.
In the very beginning of this book is a lovely quote by American humorist and writer, Josh Billings, which says, “Be like a postage stamp—stick to one thing until you get there.”
And that’s my wish for you, to create an overriding one-year goal that acts as a purpose statement to help reach every subgoal and objective that you have.
The start of finding your overall recognition goal is to conduct a thorough assessment of your recognition practices and programs. You likely already know where your weak spots are. Getting some quantitative details and qualitative insights will provide you and others with the exact information you need.
Check out how your recognition practices and programs are doing. What do your policies and procedures look like? How do your employees and your leaders feel about your programs? What did the most recent employee engagement survey say about employee recognition? How is the participation level is using your recognition program across the organization?
Find the Patterns
From all the information you have gleaned, you will see a pattern. It’s finding these patterns that will help shape the direction you need to be heading in.
What I really love when evaluating how recognition is doing in an organization is conducting leader interviews. I investigate where they would rate recognition on a 10-point scale. Find out why they scored recognition at that level. What the contributors and barriers are for great recognition. And then I boil things down to the last question.
This is where I ask each leader one question in isolation from their peers. I simply ask, if they could tell me ONE thing that their organization must do to improve employee recognition, what would they tell everyone to do?
The answers are very revealing. Often, they are very similar or on the same theme.
Discover Your Purpose
If you already have a written recognition strategy, you may well have crafted a recognition purpose and philosophy statement. What is it that the leaders and employees of your organization believe about employee recognition? And, if you have this articulated, how on track are you in fulfilling that purpose?
Maybe you need to ask yourself what the organization should do to get back on track. Or perhaps the overall recognition purpose statement needs to be revised.
Bottom line, this quick assessment may bear what your overall recognition goal should be for next year.
Make it a Priority
Your overall goal for next year is the beacon goal that becomes the priority for everyone in the organization, not just for executive leadership team members. It must be easy to remember and narrowly focused on its desired outcome. This goal will be the capstone to all the tactical objectives you have set in specific areas of your recognition practices and programs.
Keller and Papasan in their book suggest asking yourself the question, What’s the ONE Thing you can do this week such that by doing it, everything else would be easier or unnecessary?
So, what do you need to do to turn recognition around?
To gain tremendous success with your recognition plans, narrow down to doing one thing and one thing only.
Ask yourself and others involved in leading recognition, What’s the ONE Thing we can do to increase recognition program participation this quarter?
Or perhaps, What’s the ONE Thing we can do to educate more leaders on giving more effective recognition this coming month?
Examples of One Thing
For one organization, they knew they needed better programs to celebrate employee achievements. They were not very good at giving daily acknowledgements to staff. Education and training about their programs and recognition skills were very apparent. It was obvious they must improve their communications to leaders and employees on the importance of recognition. Somehow, they had to improve the funding and budget allocations for leaders to give rewards. Their overall recognition goal was very all encompassing. But it focused on increasing the awareness of recognition over that of rewards and showing everyone how to give meaningful recognition.
In another organization, I observed they needed to learn how to recognize each other better. This also caused delivering communication that defined what recognition is and the expectation for everyone to give it. They know they need accountability for giving proper recognition. They will probably commend those who give recognition well and set consequences for those who do not. Yet, overall, the most common theme that became their overriding goal over all others was the need for consistency in recognizing one another.
Analyze, ponder, and consider what your overall recognition goal should be for next year. It will keep everyone focused on bettering recognition practices and programs.
Recognition Reflection: What’s the ONE Thing you need to do to improve recognition in your organization over the coming 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.