Deadly Sins of Recognition

Welcome back to Your Greatness Magnified where we talk about the deadly sins of recognition. These are the things you want to avoid because your efforts will go nowhere and could have the opposite effect of what you want.

Why do we even need to pay attention to recognition?

  1. To retain great people.

We are in a talent shortage that shows no signs of easing until 2030 (Deloitte). Avoiding the deadly sins means that we’re more likely to retain our best people. With their innovation, passion and knowledge, you can stay one step ahead of the competition.

  1. You have no time.

You don’t have time for fancy programs that take your time and limited resources. Authentic recognition doesn’t have to take much of your time, in fact can just be a matter of tweaking what you already do day-to-day or at all-staff or leadership events. If you think, “I have no time to do this,” or it is rushed or inauthentic, don’t do it at all.

  1. Recognition is part of your brand…whether you’re practicing recognition or not.

If you practice recognition, and your people feel valued, they tell people and you can see their fulfillment written all over their faces. You don’t do it, and that too becomes your brand. As one person shared with me while waiting in line at airport security, “We’re the organization that values people as long as they’re making the numbers.” Guess how great an impression I have of that company now?

So what to do? Let’s get right into some of the solutions so that you can avoid the deadly sins of recognition.

  1. Avoid the “should” and tokenism.

If you’re just doing recognition because somebody told you to or because you have to or you’re doing it the way that somebody else did it, that’s perhaps not going to work for you. What’s your authentic way in which you want to recognize people?

  1. Keep it simple.

I suggest you don’t make it all about the gifts and the money.  If you’re a very compensation based culture this is where the gift certificates and the bonuses can work as your number one way in which you recognize people, however in most cultures it’s the personal piece that means so much. I would suggest avoiding the deadly sin of thinking that you don’t recognize something unless you’ve got a gift certificate or a bonus to attach to it.

  1. Keep recognition alive throughout the year!

Please don’t make recognition about something that happens once a year. The long service award or the week where we celebrate our people’s accomplishments. If you wait to recognize somebody once a year, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to make sure that people know that they’re continually valued.

What happens if, after that recognition event, they did something amazing? How likely are they going to keep doing that something amazing, going above and beyond and it doesn’t get noticed? It’s pretty hard to have that momentum to give your discretionary effort to something that seems to fall into the black hole of appreciation or value. I’m not saying people will only do great things when they’re valued but where’s the feedback loop that tells people to keep doing it, it’s working, it’s worth the effort, we need you to keep doing that.

  1. See the extraordinary in the ordinary.

People are doing extraordinary things. Are you celebrating them? The individual who decided to start her MBA while also working full time. The leader who stops to donate blood after work every two months. The volunteer who has perfect attendance. Seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary is a way to practice the exponential power of recognition.

  1. It’s everyone’s job.

It simply can’t be a small army of HR and organizational development people who are leading the charge on recognition. A client of mine has launched an engagement task force where the HR team put out a call to see who else wished to create the strategy for boosting engagement and recognition. 10% of the Canadian workforce came forward! In just three months, they have created a strategy, work teams and have already launched their first successful project. Now take a guess how much buy in there is in this organization!

What other deadly sins do you see? What solutions can you suggest? Please comment below so that we have strong recognition cultures and share as a community some of these things that work!  Need more? Jump into to my Cool Stuff page, download all kinds of free resources and tools!

“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”

– Mother Teresa

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