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?

Managing versus Leading Recognition

Vineet Nayar, the founder of the Delhi-based Sampark Foundation, and the former CEO of HCL Technologies and author of Employees First, Customers Second, has a great explanation of the differences between managers and leaders.

Nayar suggests, “management consists of controlling a group or a set of entities to accomplish a goal. Leadership refers to an individual’s ability to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward organizational success. Influence and inspiration separate leaders from managers, not power and control.”

There are recognition program managers who naturally manage the many facets of recognition practices and programs. For example, the following are just a few of several areas managed by recognition program owners:

  • Administering of recognition policies, procedures, and programs.
  • Maintains active usage, communication, and implementation of all recognition programs.
  • Focuses recognition program reports and effective use of recognition systems.
  • Manages and ensures recognition and reward spend are within budget.
  • Reports up to senior leaders on outcomes of recognition program reports.
  • Ensures they and everyone are using the recognition programs the right way. 
  • Keeps an eye on the bottom line of recognition.

And much, much more.

However, there is a difference between what a recognition leader would do. A leader would probably address the following areas:

  • Initiates the need for having a written recognition strategy.
  • Aligns recognition with the organizational culture and business strategy.
  • Leverages recognition to drive key performance measures and people metrics.
  • Sets expectations of others to be the best recognizers of their staff.
  • Inspires leaders to be exemplary in valuing people and their contributions.
  • Is visionary in what they see as the potential for using recognition.
  • Keeps an eye on the future of recognition.

Here are some quick reflections.

The above lists under management and leaders could well be one and the same person. That’s what should happen in your organization.

Gaining a Leadership Champion

Besides becoming a leader of recognition and managing recognition practice and programs, it is very helpful to have an executive leader who can champion the cause of recognition at the C-Suite table.

This is where being a recognition leader yourself raises the stakes for the future of recognition. When you lead recognition, you will present yourself and attract the right senior leaders to advocate for you.

Your motivation and vision for what recognition can do for people in your organization will elevate how you communicate with others. You have inspirational goals set for growing recognition practices and programs and reducing the gaps of what was not happening in your organization. You will research best practices and be well aware that you need to create the next leading practices for your organization.

To do all this, it will help, but not be essential, to have a senior leader bring your recognition strategy and plans to the chief officers of your organization.

A recognition leader is not a position or a title. It is all about action and example. It is about carrying the flag for recognition and making it bigger and better than what it already is.

If you are not already leading recognition, become the recognition leader in your organization.

Recognition Reflection: Are you leading recognition in your organization or are you managing it?

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