Continuing on the theme of my last post, in multiple studies employees consistently say what they want in the workplace is recognition for a job well done. Just as consistently, managers and company leaders aren’t getting the message.

In a survey of employees from across industries and organisations, Dr. Gerald Graham, Professor of Management at Wichita State University, found:

• 58% seldom if ever received praise from their manager
• 76% seldom if ever received written thanks from their manager
• 78% seldom if ever got a promotion based on performance
• 81% seldom if ever received public praise
• 92% seldom if ever participated in a meeting designed to build morale

This same study invited participants to rank, in order, 65 potential motivators – the top five are those listed above!

Why the disconnect? The answer usually lies in the culture of the organisation. In the companies we work with, we strongly emphasise the roll of culture and change management in successful employee recognition programme efforts. Managers who never recognised their team members before won’t suddenly become the most appreciative of leaders just because a new programme for recognition has been implemented.

So how can you manage change within your organisation?

• Secure executive buy-in for recognition, both to promote the programme and, critically, to demonstrate recognition with their direct reports and on down the chain.

• Hold managers accountable by making recognition targets part of their MBOs or KPIs

• Report on the results of recognition within the manager’s area to show the value. These reports can show increases in productivity, teamwork, performance against strategic objectives or similar. Once the value of recognition is understood, reluctant managers are more quick to jump on the bandwagon.

By enforcing change management principles for recognition up front, you can begin to change the very culture of your organisation into one of appreciation through frequent, timely, memorable and personal recognition of effort.

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