4. Foster Recognition – Are you looking, seeing, and saying?
(Part 5 of a 10 part series on how managers can improve employee engagement)
Expanding recognition. If we split the word recognition it can be viewed as to think again (re-cognition). We need to rethink what recognition means in workplaces beyond long service pins, toasters, donuts on Friday, and minimal encouragers such as, “good job.”
- Recognition can be strategic to assist in achieving results and advancing the enterprise.
- Recognition can be personal such as noticing when someone is struggling with a task yet reluctant to ask for help.
- Recognition can be social and make use of internal or external social media tools similar to LinkedIN, FaceBook, and Twitter.
Everyday time. Brun and Cooper in Missing Pieces stated: “the leading challenge to modern organizations is to increase the time that managers spend with their employees.” they also go on to state, “people work each day. Therefore, you should as much as possible recognize their achievements on a daily basis.”
The business of recognition. Recent studies by Gallup, the Corporate Leadership Council, Towers Perrin and others illustrate that recognition is highly correlated with improved employee engagement. Recent AON Hewitt research on the status of employee engagement globally tells us: worldwide, employee engagement is at 56%, which indicates a workforce indifferent to organizational success or failure. The largest engagement drop is in how employees perceive performance management. Employee are asking for recognition for their efforts, better communication about company direction, and an improved link to how individual employees can contribute to the organization.
Intent and impact. We must look at both the intent and impact of recognition. Toasters and gift cards can be okay when the intent is to express caring made tangible, not as an obligatory duty of a manager. We must also look at impact. Is recognition well-received, does it make a difference, or is it seen as some kind of managerial tokenism? Our recognition needs to be fair and it needs to be real. As my friend Roy Saunderson, from the Recognition Management Institute, declares, “we need REAL RECOGNITION.”
Recognize this. Without recognition our workplaces are void of the human element. Are you fully letting employees know that you see them, you are thinking about them and you both recognize and appreciate them? Authentic recognition is so much more than an annual gala or occasional gift card for good behavior. Recognition is social, strategic, and powerful. Recognition is the “re-thinking” of engagement in our everyday interactions and recognition for progress creates a strong multiplier for the motivation and engagement of knowledge workers. Gary Chapman and Paul White have written extensively about the 5 languages of appreciation at work: words of affirmation, acts of service, tangible gifts, physical touch and quality time.
The invisible employee. I believe employees are over-surveyed and under-engaged. Added to this is the lack of recognition in surveys due to the extensive use of anonymous surveys. At one level, anonymous surveys are telling employees we don’t want to know who you are. If it is not okay to write your name on a survey given by the people who employ you I believe we have less of an engagement problem and more of a safety and genuine recognition problem.
Recognition makes good sense. The symbol used in the employee engagement pyramid for recognition resembles the Eye of Horus an Egyptian symbol associated with power, good health, and action. We must engage with recognition while we fully recognize engagement. Recognition can power an organization and contribute to employee well-being. We must fully open our eyes and senses to both recognize and appreciate the people we work with.
Recognition in the core and at the heart of the pyramid of engagement. Recognition is the inside center of the Pyramid of Employee Engagement for Managers. It is central to engagement at work. We must help employees recognize
- what they need to engage with to achieve key results,
- their level of performance from excellence and mastery to deficiency and gaps,
- the power of progress as a motivator and the importance of minimizing setbacks,
- that organizations are based on relationships and community,
- the power of moments at work and the ability to flow into the moment of work,
- personal and working strengths as elements of engagement and contributors to well being,
- authentic meaning at work giving us greater purpose, connection, and engagement,
- the vital role engagement can play in enhancing well being and how key it is to engage purposefully in well being for ourselves and others,
- that work both consumes and contributes to mental, physical, emotional, spiritual and organizational energy.
Read these 3 sources to foster greater recogntion at work:
- Roy Saunderson, Giving the Real Recognition Way.
- Jean-Pierre Bran and Cary Cooper, Missing Pieces: 7 Ways to Improve Employee Well-Being and organizational Effectiveness.
- Gary Chapman and Paul White, The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace.
Building the pyramid of employee engagement. Review these 5 previous posts as we build the 10 block pyramid of employee engagement actions for managers:
In a moment. The next post in the employee engagement pyramid series will be: Mastering Moments.
Pyramid Power. Contact David Zinger today to put the 10 building blocks of full engagement to work in your organization. Ensure your managers are living the 10 actions they must take to create powerful engagement within the organization. David Zinger at 204 254 2130 or firstname.lastname@example.org.