If your engagement and satisfaction scores aren’t where you want them to be, don’t lose hope.
By focusing on recognition as a key priority, you’ll find you can elevate other essential drivers of engagement and satisfaction in the workplace right away. You can do this one-on-one, in a team environment or as a whole organization.
But more than impacting scores, let’s not lose sight it’s about impacting people. And how those folks experience the place they spend more waking hours than anywhere else.
You Can’t Lose
No matter what you do and what level you choose to try to impact, focusing on recognition is going to make a difference. Just get started. You can’t wait around for the perfect plan. There are people in your teams, that are considering leaving right now, so it’s really important to get started.
I recently met an incredibly talented, young woman who has worked for a number of different organizations since she graduated college. Some might say she jumps ship too often. Others would remind us that this is the new reality; people will switch careers up to 15 times in their lifetime, and the bar is higher for expectations. And rightly so. After all, for this talented rising star, the number one reason she left every one of those jobs was because she did not feel recognized and valued. Such a simple but easy issue to fix.
And it gets worse. The more she performed, the more the organization piled on duties and responsibilities. No additional pay, a lot more headaches and definitely more stress. Not something you want to do with your top performers. For women of a previous generation, this leads to other problems, it deters women’s advancement and then they leave in frustration. Either way, working so hard you don’t get rewarded and you feel taken advantage of needs to stop, and recognition needs to increase.
If recognition will help keep your best people in our current talent shortage, and it’s the single easiest driver of engagement and the employee experience to impact, why wouldn’t you do it?
Here’s what you can do:
1.Just Start…Or Do it More
Recognize people in whatever way feels authentic and meaningful to you. Say thank you more (95% of people say they most prefer this form of recognition…pretty good odds it will work!) Write thank you cards. Have a kudos board encouraging peer-to-peer recognition. Anything that you can do easily and can be built into the way you do your work already. That will make it quick to get started and easy to sustain. And it’s modelling the way.
2.Plan With Your Peers
Discuss the need to boost recognition with your peers. I recently spoke to a senior team of one of Canada’s top organizations as they were taking their low scores in recognition very seriously. After my keynote, they were forming action teams with a one-year goal to transform recognition. If you’re not at the point of mobilizing, join with like-minded staff or middle managers to elevate recognition. Ask each other what they do that works, share your own examples and together come up with ideas to try (need help?….we’ve got a solution for that). Build on successes and try new things. Strength in numbers, even if it’s just a few more than you!
What are the other pain points you’re trying to impact? By boosting recognition, you can also elevate other drivers in your engagement survey: continuous improvement behaviour, trust in the organization, satisfaction with leaders, and intention to stay. You can impact HR variables like sick time, stress leaves and turnover. You can impact safety such as lost time, WSIB claims, bullying (psychological safety) reports. You can boost your customer satisfaction scores and use behaviour. When you identify what you want recognition to impact, you can understand exactly what you’re trying to accomplish by boosting recognition (if it’s just for a survey it’s not enough). What are some of the things that you’re hoping will elevate your engagement and satisfaction scores in a year or two from now?
4.Consider Strategic and Operational Priorities
Which of those things I noted above are essential metrics to fulfill your operational and strategic objectives? Since recognition is so easy to implement and increase, how could it provide a powerful foundation in which to build other initiatives? What will fail if you don’t have it? Make the direct connection about how engaged, satisfied people who feel valued and recognized are going to enable a key initiative or project to happen.
5.Celebrate the Small Wins
You can celebrate recognition wins. Celebrate your wins as a peer group or as an organization. While you’re at it, don’t just celebrate recognition gains, but anything that you want to see more of! Make celebration of success as well as failures (what you’ve learned from them) part of your culture. Don’t let milestones of projects or initiatives go undervalued and ignored.
When people feel a greater sense of connection to each other, they feel like they’re contributing individually and that they’re part of a collective that is successful.
I hope you found these tips on how to move your recognition agenda forward, helpful. For more tips on recognition, tune in to my daily, Forever Recognize Others’ Greatness Flash Briefing. All you need is an Alexa device, an Alexa app, a Podbean app, and you can get one tip, one to two minutes a day that will help to give you more and more ideas to keep this recognition going.