In Tim Sander's book: "Love is the Killer App," he warns that some business books have emphasized recognizing employees, but "they are actually grounded in an attitude of material gain and promote a disingenuous appearance of caring. These are the mantras of the airport gift shop books that litter the minds of today's bizfolk."
When I recently interviewed Vineet Nayar, CEO of HCL in New Delhi, India, he expressed a similar concern about recognition saying that managers have a self-serving agenda, which makes the praise from them fake and ineffective.
I agree with them both, and fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way. Not to over simplify, but if we are aware of these possible pitfalls, and decide that we will change the status quo, we have an opportunity to create great recognition experiences that actually have a positive impact.
Do you want to make your recognition efforts more productive? Do you want to have a real impact? Start by asking yourself these questions:
- How will you make this about THEM?
- Are you seeking a better relationship with the recipient?
- Are you quick to celebrate on a regular basis or is this one of those “rare” occasions?
- How well do you know the recipient? Do you know the story well enough to emphasize what they did well?
- Are you creating a transactional moment or a transformational experience for the recipient?
- Will the recipient get to share how they feel?
- Have you been transparent about how great performance is good for everyone?
- When is the last time you just sat and listened to your employees without an agenda?
- How do you demonstrate that you trust and care about people?
- Are you willing to admit when you fall short and apologize?
Great recognition, just like any other great result, requires intentional effort. The good news: It is worth the effort.