Are you recognizing your employees for their innovation?
If you answered occasionally, not really, or perhaps no – what barriers do you face when it comes to recognizing? Some of the most common barriers that you may encounter are infrequency, in-authenticity, price, and priority.
For recognition to work best it needs to be timely. Recognition should occur as close to what is being recognized as possible. Too often recognition is late or just doesn’t happen at all. Most recognition tends to focus on “service” or “tenure”, and while service awards are okay, they don’t present many opportunities to recognize often and in the moment. If you’re saving up all your recognition for a big annual event you may be missing out on motivating your employees more. Who gets motivated to go above and beyond if they are only recognized once a year? Think of recognition like baseball. While home runs are fantastic, they are few and far between. You’ll win more games if you recognize those singles and doubles that occur far more frequently and put more runs on the scoreboard.
When you begin recognizing on a more regular basis, you must ensure that the recognition given is authentic. If it isn’t, your employees will see right through it. Make sure recognition comes from people who are involved in what is being recognized, rather than from someone who has no relationship with the individuals, or the actions being recognized. One of the best ways to ensure recognition is authentic is to make it personal. Too often recognition is generic and delivered to entire teams at once – “Thanks for all you guys have done.” This type of recognition says nothing to those individuals who worked hard on the project and stayed late to make things happen. Take the recognition straight to each employee and recognize their efforts one on one.
When we consider price as a barrier, it can be interpreted in a variety of ways. The most common is simply the overall cost of developing a recognition program. How do you put a monetary value on the recognition of your employee’s innovational work and the value it creates for your company? It isn’t so much the cost of the awards but the act of recognition itself which motivates and retains your employees. Some may argue that if you pay your employees well, there is no need to recognize them; after all, they are doing the job for which they are paid for, right? While it is important to pay employees competitively, most people leave jobs due to their boss or the culture, not because of money. Recognition can help create a culture that keeps the right people engaged, happy, and working for you long term.
And, last but not least… priority! Some may have discussed starting a recognition program and just never have got around to ironing out those details. It just never becomes a high enough priority to assign to someone to setup and manage. When you consider the benefits of recognition you will realize that the time you invest in it is one of the best investments you can make. Such a simple act can have a lasting impact on your employees, motivating and keeping them engaged in their innovative ways.
Because, at the end of the day, recognition is about seeing people. It isn’t just a program, or about the rewards, true recognition is about seeing, hearing and valuing people. And that matters more today than ever.