How would you develop a meaningful and effective employee recognition program?
What represents “average” and what looks like “excellent” at your workplace?
Transformational leaders understand the importance of timely, authentic, and meaningful employee recognition. The leader knows her people and what best motivates them. (For instance, accolades must resonate with the different generational mindsets that may be in the work setting. Boomers may crave financial reward and titles, while millennials favor flexibility benefits.)
Even though the All Stars generally standout, there will be shortsighted, why-not-me workplace citizens who have difficulty recognizing and acknowledging the good work of others. What’s a leader to do in order to connect with all team members?
One of the last scenarios in my new book gives readers the opportunity to grapple with the best way to recognize employee efforts. While I wrote the scenario specifically for college and university faculty, you can apply it to other professions. Take out the reference to “faculty” and insert your occupation or job title, for example. Instead of “department chair,” use “manager” or “supervisor.”
Whether we talk about faculty, corporate managers, dockworkers, or administrative assistants recognizing them for a “job well done” seems like commonsense to overall personnel development.
Your work environment may adeptly understand and expertly execute employee recognition. If so, I would like to learn about your system. Leave a comment on this blog.
Video recommendation for the week.
Let me set the stage for the scenario.
For more hands-on introductory videos, visit my video playlist.
As you and your colleagues grapple with this scenario, consider if Professor Hadit works in an environment where everyone believes he or she is excellent. If that is the case, then hasn’t “excellent” in that environment actually become “average”? Excellent indicates far above the average. What represents average and what looks like excellent at your workplace?
“Got a moment?” asked Professor Hadit as he stood at his colleague’s office door.
“Sure, come on in, Don. Have a seat.” Professor Binder pointed to the seat at the side of his desk. Both professors taught in the English department on their campus. Don Hadit it was the current department chair. He had been in that position for two years.
“Not sure where to start, Ann, other than this is the stereotypical case of doing what I thought was right only to catch grief from every direction. Remember the campus meeting we had last week with the campus president?”
“Yeah,” replied Ann. “I thought it went well. Very positive. Especially the recognition of the ‘all-stars’ in each of the departments. Finally, nice to see faculty recognized for what they do well.”
“Well, there’s the rub,” said Don with a sigh. “We, the department chairs, were asked to pass along the names of some of our faculty who have done something well over the last semester. We could only give four or five names. The president wanted to reach out and thank those folks. So, I did that. Thought it was a good idea, too. Unfortunately, my phone has not stopped ringing, the email inbox keeps dinging, and there have been a few unpleasant conversations—or should I say diatribes—in my office.”
“I don’t understand,” offered a confused-looking Ann. “About positive recognition?”
“Yeah. It seems people got very upset—I mean red-in-the-face mad—that they weren’t recognized. Some went as far as to tell me why the people I chose were not deserving of such recognition. I’m flabbergasted. Feeling a bit blindsided. Even had one person claim the only reason you were recognized is because we are friends outside of campus. Gee. Since I observe every teacher in this department and conduct thorough evaluations, I thought I was in the best place to be objective.”
Ann raised her eyebrows and blew a slow breath.
“I’m not sure how to rebound from this one. Frankly, I’m mad as hell. Got any thoughts?” asked Professor Hadit as he slumped into the chair and stared straight ahead at the wall. “I feel like we’re stuck in a place where everyone has to get a trophy!”
Reflect on This
- If you were in Professor Hadit’s position, would you have proceeded any differently when asked by the campus president for a few of the “All Stars” in your department? Briefly explain.
- How does your workplace recognize its All Stars? How should it recognize the All Stars?
Make it an inspiring week and H.T.R.B. as needed.
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(c) 2017. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.