top 10 recognition excuses and how to overcome them

By in Appreciation, Celebrate Careers, Insights, Recognition Strategies, and Webinars
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Everyone, at every level of the organization, needs to be invested in recognition. Some HR teams work to create a strategic program, aligned with corporate goals, only to have the launch fall flat when managers or leaders don’t buy in. Others HR leaders are trying to make it work with little budget or structure, but don’t know how to support the managers trying to appreciate their employees.

No matter your specific situation, from a formal recognition suite to no program at all, our most recent webinar gave solutions. Jeff Birk, O.C. Tanner’s manager of speaking and training, led the webinar, providing strategies to help team leaders gain a better understanding of the impact their recognition efforts have.

The ten most common objections mangers have to giving recognition:

#1 – I don’t have time.

Solution: Keep it simple.

It’s a false assumption to believe that recognition takes a large amount of time. Taking just 10 minutes a week to sit quietly, focus on the great work going on around you, think of an individual to recognize and send a note of appreciation is all you need to do.

#2 – I worry about favoritism. If I recognize one, I’ll have to recognize everybody.

Solution: Keep recognition coming.

It’s not just for star performers. It needs to be for everybody. There is great work on every single team. Don’t get caught in the mode of just recognizing the best performers. Be consistent for all.

 #3 – I don’t know how much to spend on recognition.

Solution: Know it doesn’t take much.

There are some easy ways to provide low-cost recognition. Print out and deliver a two-hour lunch break certificate. Submit a story highlighting one of your employees to be printed in the company newsletter. At the next team lunch, toast a great accomplishment by one of your teammates. For those without program or budget, start with low-cost to no-cost ideas. When you do have executive buy-in, the tone for recognition will already be set.

#4 – I don’t know what to give for what achievement.

Solution: Learn recognition etiquette.

Sometimes managers get in the rut of giving out the same thing over and over, which becomes stale and can actually lead to a negative outcome. With our guide to purposeful appreciation, using the latest research from focus groups and global surveys, you’ll be equipped with the recognition etiquette needed to create meaningful appreciation experiences for every occasion.

#5 – Why? Aren’t they just doing their job?

Solution: Become a fan of your people.

In a sporting event, we cheer throughout the game. All the great kicks, passes and tackles receive a roar of applause throughout the entire game. Yet some leaders and organizations hold back until the end-of-year review and banquet. Help employees get through the ups and downs of their jobs by cheering them on the whole way through.

#6 – I tried movie tickets but they got sick of them.

Solution: Have a bigger toolbox.

Everyone doesn’t like the same thing, so you never want to give the same type of recognition to every employee every time. With a little creativity and insight from your people, you can expand your recognition toolbox. To help you get to know your employee’s preference, give each person this handy Recognition Survey to fill out that will tell you what they like and how they prefer to be recognized.

 #7 – If I do it too much, it’ll lose it’s meaning.

Solution: Be more specific.

Don’t be general or redundant. Share the reasons for each recognition moment and how your team member made a difference. If you can’t be sincere, hold off until you can be.

#8 – Guess what? We’ve tried this before. It didn’t really work that well.

Solution: Align your program to the core values of your organization.

Make your recognition strategic. Metrics need to be in place to track success. Through training and communication, you’ll ensure managers are bought in, that they realize what the recognition program objectives are and how to deliver meaningful appreciation. And ensure the executive leaders feel ownership and are modeling recognition practices.

#9 – They just want cash.

Solution: Symbols trump cash.

While this is usually the first answer of “What would you like?” in employee surveys, it affords the lowest connection to the organization. Cash is typically spent on gas, utilities, and the recipient can’t usually recall how they used the cash just a couple months after receiving it. To make recognition last, to make it meaningful, offer a symbolic award that will remind the recipient of how you value their contributions every time they look at it.

#10 – I don’t do warm and fuzzy.

Solution: Just be yourself.

Find what fits your personality and give it a go. Just start. Make it a goal to become a great recognizer.

If you’re looking to inspire leadership, train your managers or create recognition champions, we have more of the tools you’ll need. Get started with ideas on how to help your managers provide impactful appreciation.

And for further insights into recognizing your global employees, read the 10 critical factors for success in effective global recognition.

Sign up for our next webinar, “7 Best Practices for Creating a Great Place to Work,” hosted by O.C. Tanner’s Charlotte Miller. 

By angie haugen
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