Worried some employees don’t care about your efforts to award & recognize them?

Our Engagement Coaches at MyEmployees hear A LOT of the same concerns when daily speaking to Store Managers, HR professionals, Co-managers, Shift Managers, and many leaders in multiple industries.

All that daily feedback (times 30 years & over 100,000 leaders) makes it easy for us to identify which areas of recognition programs & leadership development need the most consistent troubleshooting.

Now we’re passing that knowledge & experience to YOU!

3rd topic: Why doesn’t everyone care about your awards & recognition?

If you’ve noticed any employees not buying into your recognition program, leaving awards laying around, or not being very excited in general, the most important places to look first are the foundation & execution of your program, not the award itself.

It doesn’t matter what your “recognition piece” is (trophy, plaque, acrylic award, certificate, apparel, etc.), if your program does not have a solid foundation & follow-through, you will always fight an uphill battle to get your employees and your team’s leaders to buy in.

But how do you know if your recognition programs have a solid foundation?

Easy! You just have to ask the right questions.

So let’s hear from our expert coaches…

Want to talk to someone about what a program would look like in your business? Click HERE.

Questions to ask, according to Executive Coach, Keesha Starr

Are the goals you’ve set for employees to win awards challenging but not too far out of reach?

If a goal is seen as unattainable, your people won’t even try to win. Truly no one wins in this scenario, whether you hand out an award or not. Remember, it’s important to set goals that will help both your business AND your employees succeed.

Are you providing coaching & support to help your employees reach those goals?

This is one of the best ways to show your people you care about them, you’re serious about helping them succeed, and you’re committed to awarding them fairly for results.

Do the people that win really feel valued by their leaders?

This extends far beyond your recognition program. If your employees feel disrespected, mistreated, or not valued in other situations, giving them an award may do little-to-no good.

How many employees are you concerned about and are they all from your A-team?

There is a near certainty some employees will not value their awards, no matter what your recognition piece is. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t effective at all. Usually, for every few people that don’t buy in, there’s a whole team of others that are appreciative & grateful for your efforts. Don’t be thrown off course by allowing a few negative people to overshadow all of the positive.

Questions to ask, according to Engagement Coach, Nick Capps

How did the employee learn that they won the award? Was it done in a public fashion with their peers present?

Picking the right setting can make or break the positive impact awards will have. And not just the impact on the person winning. THIS is the opportunity for your other employees to find out exactly what it takes to win (if you’re being as specific as you should be about winners’ performances when handing out awards) and how committed your leaders are to recognizing the accomplishments of your people.

Did the leader who made the announcement & handed out the award seem excited to recognize that individual? Did they communicate the value that person adds to the team and the business’s consumers?

It is absolutely crucial to show your team the recognition is important to YOU so it will be important to THEM. It’s top down. Being genuine, excited, & specific are great ways to communicate why each winner’s performance is valuable and what impact they had on your team & in your business.

Do the employees feel they didn’t really earn the award or did it feel like another participation trophy?

Awards have to really mean something or you’re wasting your time & money. This isn’t little league baseball. Everyone doesn’t get a trophy.

Do your employees know what it takes for them to win, do they know how to hit the target their managers have set up for them, and do they have a way of seeing their progress throughout the month, quarter, or year, so they can tell if they are getting closer to the bulls-eye or not?

This goes beyond setting up a good criteria for selecting your award winners. Show them their progress too so they no where they stand while still having a change to impact their ranking! Coach them! Get in the game!

Have you offered other things to supplement the awards, such as a celebratory meal out with the managers, a gift card, gift basket, or ways for them to earn extra cash as a result of their extra efforts?

A meal out with a manager or your leadership team is an amazing team-building experience and one where you can continue conversations to keep cultivating your top people! And while cash can’t replace recognition, it’s still a great incentive. If you’re offering cash and awards then your award winners still have something tangible to represent their success (and your appreciation) once the cash is gone…which never takes very long!

Did you and the other managers get a picture of your winner holding their plaque, post it on social media or an internal communication system, and give the winner a copy of the picture?

Make a big deal out of it to get the maximum impact & mileage from your investment! And again, if this is seen as something that’s important to you, it will be important to your people (or at least the ones you are able to impact, typically A players).

Want to talk to someone about what a program would look like in your business? Click HERE.

Thoughts from Business Engagement Strategist, Becky Lovett

It’s about the moment; that significant moment when you show your employee how much their effort means to you.

What happens with the actual plaque itself after that will depend on each person.

Most of the time, the impact of being given a personalized award is not soon forgotten.

2 more cents from Marketing Director, Matthew Coleman

In the end, an award is the physical embodiment of the recognition & appreciation.

It represents the emotion. So focus on the emotion. Make a big deal about the person who is being recognized.

What did they do? Why are they winning? What makes them a great employee? What did they do to earn this special praise?

Highlight that aspect, even before handing their award over to them.

When the emotion & genuine feeling are at the forefront, they will assign that to the award when it reaches their hand.

It goes from being just a plaque to the representation of everything they’ve accomplished.

Final thoughts

It’s important to note that you will never find a type of award that gets everyone equally excited. If that’s what you’re looking for, prepare to spend countless hours & probably a few bad investments trying to find the next big thing year after year.

That’s why it’s so important to focus on the foundation & execution of your recognition program. That’s where the magic happens, despite being overlooked insanely often.

It’s also important to consider the source. Who’s complaining or not showing much interest? Your repeat winners or your repeat whiners? Let winners shape your culture, not whiners.

Lastly, don’t get duped into replacing your recognition piece with cash or gift cards, which have zero lasting trophy value. Once that money is spent, it’s gone and there’s no physical representation or your employees’ accomplishments or your appreciation for them.

Cash incentives are fine! But that’s all they are. Incentives. Not recognition. One cannot take the place of the other.

Do you have more questions or concerns? Reach out to your Engagement Coach today!

Your EC is here to help get your team’s recognition program dialed in for maximum impact.