Tag Archives: Recognition

Developing an effective, no cost recognition program (#HRFL11)

My first concurrent session at HR Florida was titled “Developing an Effective, No Cost Recognition Program.” Truthfully, it was my second choice because the other one I wanted to attend was unavailable, but it was a suitable replacement. The speaker, Todd Efird, gave us some great information on using recognition at work. While the examples focused around construction safety, there were still some solid takeaways for someone working in a corporate environment.

Incentives: doing it wrong and doing it right

It’s the classic problem with workplace safety incentive programs, really. When you base someone’s incentive on not reporting accidents and injuries, you have unintended consequences like suppressed reporting, a negative view of the program, etc.

Instead of following the old mentality, a better, more effective way of operating the program is to incorporate positive recognition that is timely, relevant, sincere, and tied to individual performance.

Praise vs. Recognition

One of the best comments during the session was when the speaker differentiated between praise and recognition at work.

  • Praise is basically a quick, simple “attaboy” or “attagirl” for a job well done. For example, telling someone “Great job on that presentation” is praise.
  • Recognition is a two-way communication that requires a confirmation from the employee. For example, telling someone “I thought that presentation was killer, what about you?” is a way of making sure they understand the feedback and it opens the dialog for further interaction/engagement.

Leaving that response open ended is the key, really. Allowing someone to respond with a “yes” or “no” will not necessarily get the results you’re looking for. Conversely, if you leave the conversation hanging and allow them to respond, you not only get potentially valuable information, but you also continue the conversation and make it memorable in their mind.

Open ended questions also help supervisors to lead people to the right answer. That flies in the face of the old school “catch them doing it wrong” type thinking.

Key quotes/takeaways

  1. Most employees know what you don’t want already. Share with them what you do want. Then recognize them when they do it.
  2. If you’re wanting to recognize people, keep looking for the right they’re doing, not the wrong. More people are doing it right than wrong at any given moment.
  3. Start meetings with “here’s how we did well” instead of “here’s where you screwed up.” That approach opens people up to feedback.
  4. Find out if employees want to get recognition in front of peers or not. Some studies show hourly workers want it privately so they aren’t seen as “sucking up” to the boss.
  5. Every organization has people who are impervious to positive recognition/feedback efforts. They’re called CAVEmen: Citizens Against Virtually Everything.

All in all it was a fantastic session and I’m glad I attended. We have some recognition tools we’re using currently, but these free, relatively simple concepts can have a major impact on the people nonetheless.

Stay tuned for more posts coming to you live from HR Florida 2011!

Informal peer recognition

informal peer recognition toolMy friend Cori at Baudville sent me this cool tool for peer to peer recognition the other day. I’m itching to try it out. When I head to our off site location later this week I’ll be delivering it and offering some encouragement/guidance to our on site HR person to get it rolling.

Peer recognition in a nutshell

The basic idea is that much of the stuff that gets done isn’t obvious to managers, so having peers recognize each other covers those “unseen yet praise-worthy” actions.

There’s also the fun element which shouldn’t be underestimated. I love telling others how awesome they are for doing something extra special. The only way to make that even more fun is to do it when others can see and hear about their accomplishment. That not only earns them some extra kudos, but it also increases the likelihood that they will make that type of action a habit.

Do you have some sort of peer recognition program at your company? It can be as informal as a bulletin board for notes or as formal as a reward program where you get recognized in some sort of ceremony. Love to hear how others do this!

I have finally been oriented

I am on the cusp of my six month “anniversary” with my current employer, and I got to attend an orientation session earlier this week.

If I had to describe that experience with one word, it would be “amazing.”

Seeing our VPs of HR and Operations go out to meet the new employees, field questions, and provide some background on values and expectations was inspiring for me. As an in-between employee (both in HR and a new employee), they wanted to know my take on the experience. My response was something dripping praise, but it basically boiled down to “keep it up.”

Since I started, I have been tracking our turnover rates. There are some trends that I am interested in observing as this new element to the hiring process begins.

Take it from someone who will tell it to you straight. Do an orientation with new employees. If you want it to be more useful, wait until they\’ve been there for a few weeks (or do it in two parts). That way you can ask about problems/issues before the person begins to feel powerless, and hopefully you can rectify them in some way. It makes a big difference to people when they feel appreciated. I’m walking proof of that.

But whatever you do, just do something. As a semi-new employee, I left the meeting with the desire to do something amazing for my organization. Wouldn\’t you want your employees to want the same thing?

Photo by GIHE.