NOTICE ME! Why don’t managers praise employees? 

Sometimes HR goes to a lot of work to give managers the tools they need to recognise employees, only to have managers completely ignore them. Managers end up not recognising employees and employees do not benefit from the employee recognition program that HR took so long to set up. I would like to give HR managers ways to overcome common objections they might hear from managers.

Managers don’t speak an employee recognition program language

Sometimes words of praise are not a part of a person’s vocabulary. People often have to learn employee recognition program phrases and see examples of how others are recognising employees before they can start to recognise employees. When you are setting up an employee recognition program, give managers specific examples of how they should be recognising employees. Once the program in implemented, make sure you have a recognition feed posted on your reward website so others can see the reasons people are being nominated for awards. This is a great way for recognition leaders to show what they are recognising others for and give other managers an idea of what behaviors are being recognised.

Employee Recognition Program Phrases of Praise Examples:

I appreciate…
Thank you for…
You rock!
I want to recognise you for…
Great idea!
You really helped us out when…
I am so happy you are a part of our team.

Managers don’t understand why employee recognition programmes are important

I read an article over the weekend on USAToday.com titled, “Americans hate their jobs, even with perks,” that called for managers to look towards pay raises and recognising/rewarding efforts instead of turning to perks like catered meals and free massages. The article cited a recent Gallup survey showing just 30% of employees are engaged and inspired at work. Unengaged or actively disengaged employees may be present at work, but are not excited about work. These employees could even be spreading discontent among other employees and killing productivity. (Misery loves company, right?) There is so much evidence of effective employee recognition programs impacting productivity, turnover and absenteeism. Managers not only need to understand the importance of recognition, but see the change recognition can make in their department.

They are afraid of being unfair or seen as partial

If someone is sensitive to this issue, advise them to review all the recognition given over the course of a month or two. If a manager is consistently recognising the same people, he or she should try to learn more about what others are doing to go above and beyond to include them in the employee recognition program. Another tip is to make sure managers recognise and reward the entire team if several people contributed to one successful project.

They don’t want to thank someone for doing their job

Have you ever heard anyone say, “I’m not going to thank someone for doing their job.”? I have heard this in restaurants and stores, each time it is grating to my ears. Employee recognition programs are not put together to praise and recognise people for simply doing the minimum requirements of their job description. Employee recognition programs are meant to reward people who go out of their way, go beyond what is expected, stay late or come in early without being asked and volunteer to help anytime help is needed. If managers cannot find people who are doing this, then managers could try spending a little more time with employees to learn what they are doing to help each other out and benefit the workplace.

Managers don’t want recognition to lead to entitlement

Sometimes managers don’t want to recognise employees as part of an employee recognition programme for fear that it will become something they expect. Effective recognition is consistent but sporadic so that it doesn’t become an entitlement. Managers can consistently give recognition to employees for a variety of reasons, which is what keeps the recognition sporadic.

They feel they don’t have time to recognise employees

We all prioritize tasks based on what we think is most important.  If the employee recognition program time falls off the to-do list each day, maybe the manager needs to re-evaluate priorities. The perception is often that other things are more important than recognising employees. HR managers need to be able to show managers how important employee recognise is and how easily and quickly it can be done. If you haven’t already setup a system for instant points, you may want to consider doing so. Instant points are cards that managers can have with them and if they see someone doing something they want to recognise, the manager simply gives the employee the card. The employee then would log into his or her account online to add the points to their account. The card can be kept as a collectible and often cards have various designs.

Managers don’t know what employees are doing enough to praise them for anything

Unfortunately, this is sometimes a reason given by managers for not recognising their workers. Managers should be involved with employees enough to know overall what projects are being worked on, if deadlines are being met and if budget is being adhered to. It is a manager’s responsibility to know enough to praise employees for a job well done. One way that our organisation has helped to facilitate communication is to have a short weekly meeting where we can all share what we are working on.

This was an excerpt from an article written by Awards Network. The rest of the article can be found at the Awards Network Blog.

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