Recognition, when done strategically and consistently, has been proven to be an important driver for creating a work environment where employees can become more engaged, helping the company achieve the business results it’s committed to. Who wouldn’t want that? The challenge is that even when managers understand the value of recognition as a strategic management tool, doing it doesn’t always come naturally. Recognizing employees for doing their job well and for going above and beyond is not a habit that’s easy to adopt; however, reminders are a great way to drive consistency.
A few weeks back, the VP of HR for a human services client with locations throughout Michigan shared the strategy he uses for keeping recognition top of mind. He institutes quarterly training meetings with managers and supervisors with a standing agenda item to remind them about the recognition tool they can use to publicly share the great work their teams do day in and day out. Together we brainstormed some creative ways he could share reminders and best practices to build momentum for recognition participation and consistency.
1. Demonstrate collaboration: Ask managers to come to your next meeting prepared to discuss examples of what their teams have done recently to overcome a challenge or achieve a goal. Sharing best practices is a great way for teams and managers to connect and learn from the successes of others in the organization.
2. Demonstrate progress: Show managers the progress they are making with their commitment to recognizing their people. It validates for them that you’re paying attention and tracking progress.
3. Demonstrate impact: Create a visual that connects recognition activity with key business metrics that are important to the company such as turnover, engagement, and profitability. This helps managers connect the dots—when they use recognition to drive engagement, it leads to results they are held accountable for.
4. Demonstrate how: Use resources such as articles and videos to reinforce and support your message. One resource I recommend to our clients is the Recognition Driving Results video that focuses on how to be more strategic with recognition, using it to encourage employees to do more of the behaviors/actions needed to meet business goals.
5. Demonstrate commitment: Give managers 10 minutes in their meeting to write a recognition. If they have writer’s block, remind them to think back to the ideas they shared from their group (1. Demonstrate collaboration). These are perfect examples of what to recognize others for.
Reminding strategies like these help managers see the big picture and build consistency in using recognition as a strategic tool for leading their teams.
With a lot on their daily plates, managers don’t always instinctively think to recognize a job well done. Taking a moment to acknowledge a behavior you appreciate and want to see done more is worth it when it leads to a better work environment and results such as retention and higher customer scores.