Why Recognition Starts from the Top

ABC Company initiated new recognition programs over a year ago but somehow managers and employees are just not engaging with them. Participation rates are low and there is not much traction yet.

A major healthcare organization knows recognition is very low from reports of the latest employee engagement survey. Trying to get managers to find time to acknowledge their staff has been a real mindset challenge.

In both scenarios senior leadership was weak in leading the way with personally giving recognition and encouraging others to do so.

I will show you how you can get leaders at the top to lead the way with recognition giving.

Leadership Is Key To Recognition Success

Organizations that are successful with doing recognition practices and using recognition programs well have leaders who get it.

They know recognition given the right way boosts employee morale and elevates performance results.

These leaders value work done by employees and understand the business case for giving recognition too.

Great leaders don’t just buy in to recognition. They are committed to employee recognition.

Buy in implies they financially support recognition practices and programs. Which means when money is tight they can easily pull the plug on recognition.

Commitment means they are personally invested in recognizing people whether profits are good or not.

Teach your leaders how to be more aware of the importance of recognition.

C-Suite Is the Driver of Values

C-suite leaders often create, or at least approve, an organization’s values statements.

Once leaders have generated their values statements they must now commit to living them.

One way to live company values and be more aware of them is to start catching others demonstrating them. And that is where recognition comes in handy.

Leaders can praise those they see doing positive things. They can write handwritten notes or use your recognition program’s values e-cards to specifically acknowledge behaviors they see or hear about.

Coach your leaders to be the team leaders of living your values. Show them how your recognition programs can help reinforce your values.

Leaders Build Trust and Respect

Recognition can only be perceived as genuine and authentic when there is real respect for one another in the workplace.

Senior leaders must demonstrate trust in their direct reports and hold them accountable for right actions.

When leaders respectfully greet people in the hallways as well as in public events people will know they are sincere people.

Most people join an organization for the company’s reputation.

But they leave a company more often because of a negative relationship with their immediate manager or leader.

Demonstrate the impact of leaders building trust and respect with people.

Encouragers of Recognition

I don’t think senior leaders realize how much they are being watched.

Leaders need to be actively giving positive feedback to their managers.

They must set the expectation for managers to regularly recognize their staff and to share back the exemplary stories of employee actions. Managers often need verbal or written permission to go and recognize people – trite as that may sound.

Consistency in recognition giving is key. Have leaders set time on their daily agenda for writing thank you notes or going online to your recognition programs to send out recognition messages.

Effective recognition from leaders prepares managers to be effective relationship builders.

However, using technology driven recognition programs alone cannot replace a warm smile, a high five, or personal compliment.

You have to practice giving good recognition first before you can become effective with using recognition programs.

Practices come first. Programs come second.

Find leaders who are proficient in recognition giving to share their recognition habits and practices with their leadership peers.

Don’t just equip your managers with more resources, education and training on recognition skill development.

The best education and learning will come from a master leader who is an exemplar of recognition giving.

Question: How have you see your leaders become the drivers of recognition practices at your company?

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.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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