By Roy Saunderson
Exceptional senior leaders are visionaries whose mandate is to inspire other leaders to follow them, and together, they achieve specific goals. The universal bottom line is to increase business through positive customer results, which produces a healthy profit and good return on investment for shareholders. But the vision alone won’t get you there—proper execution is required. And that means recognizing employee efforts, commitment, and successes.
While such recognition might seem like a no-brainer, many companies don’t provide it, nor do they offer training on how to do it right. When training senior leaders on how to say, “Thanks for a job well done,” the key is ensuring they feel urgency and purpose. By utilizing the process by which all 24/7 news networks disseminate information—a.k.a., the “CNN Effect”—you will grab their attention, persuade them to stay tuned in to the value, and implement the lessons learned in recognition training.
Scroll Bar Advisories
Find a visionary manager. Give him or her your vision. Keep your message short and sweet.
For example, tell them about the latest recognition training for managers and say it in about 15 to 25 words: “Have you seen the new online training video for helping managers use recognition to improve business results? Let me send you the link.” Then send them the link and the highlights that will have meaning for them, such as “Using an employee’s first name when acknowledging their performance will increase productivity for several days.” That kind of data—along with the online video to support it—should heighten their alertness to your news advisory for the value of recognition training.
It’s just happened. Good news or bad, keep your leaders immediately informed.
Share the story of an employee providing exemplary customer service and suggest a phone call or personalized letter from the leader acknowledging them. When an employee is missed at a career milestone event, tell a senior leader so he or she can correct negative misperception and prevent unneeded gossip. If you learn from follow-up survey results that employees have negative perceptions of leaders not presenting awards in a meaningful and honoring manner, don’t wait until next year to fix the situation. Move quickly on damage control and immediately suggest individual coaching sessions or training for senior leadership.
No surprises. Tell them what has happened and what is on the horizon.
Only 48 percent of organizations have a written recognition strategy. Yet 96 percent of companies that do have a recognition strategy have one that is aligned with their company’s business strategy. Continually educate your leaders on employee recognition with the latest research and make the connection to business results and employee metrics. Make sure they know the progress of new recognition programs and outcomes from employee engagement surveys especially related to employee recognition. And, most importantly, make them accountable for owning it in their own department by sharing their department programs from design to execution. While company deliverables and deadlines will shift based on consumer demand and supply chain processes, recognition plans should not be laid aside but rather realigned with the new schedule.
Training for your managers should be done by top professionals who know how to train on recognition skills effectively and have been briefed on the organization’s culture.
If you are mostly a call center business where recognition needs to be addressed continuously, make sure the trainers realize that. If you are mostly a sales or assembly line-based business, make sure the trainers realize that. Your senior leaders will not get trained if the education is generic; they need specifics to learn how to best recognize for ROI based on their specific needs in occupations, ages, regional lifestyles of employees, etc. For the training, choose either a positive, peaceful on-site location that is designed with colors, comfortable chairs, easy access to washrooms, seating that allows for everyone to see the trainers and the boards, etc., or an off-site location that will provide the same atmosphere and generate enthusiasm. You don’t want your managers distracted when learning the reasons why recognition training is important and how to execute it. Schedule times and stagger dates so managers won’t be away from their departments or offices during key times.
Special Report: Online Wrap-Up
Educate managers and provide written reviews of successes and the business impact of recognition.
Require managers to submit their recognition plans and chronicle the impact with your own checklist: Is absenteeism down? Are employee referrals up? Did tardiness decrease? Have them submit online reports with results shared by other data. They should include new recognition ideas that have been deployed.
Additionally, provide a formal yearly special report for distribution on how education and training has improved employee recognition. Build your business case for the impact and results of online, in-class, and blended learning programs contributing to the success of recognition programs and practices. Since only 46 percent of senior managers view recognition as an investment, give them tangible and intangible evidence of how education and training improved recognition and demonstrate the linkage and ROI to business results.
Using the “CNN Effect” in your recognition program will help you communicate better value, prove the power of learning, and enhance your recognition practices by having a committed and well-trained C-level team.
Educating the C-Suite
Roy Saunderson is author of “GIVING the Real Recognition Way” and president of the Recognition Management Institute, a consulting and training firm specializing in helping companies “get recognition right!” It focuses on showing leaders how to give real recognition to create positive relationships, better workplaces, and real results. For more information, contact RoySaunderson@RealRecognition.com.