Calling all managers! Making recognition initiatives effective

Dear A Advisor,

I’m a Human Resources specialist and I’ve recently enabled a recognition program within my company. The program has been my project, but I’m looking for ways to ensure effective adoption in my company. Since I’m in the HR department I don’t get a lot of insight into how individual departments utilize the program; I’m afraid that it won’t be used to its full potential.

Thanks so much for your help!

Out of Touch

Dear OoT,

You present a great question! A lot of Human Resources specialists encounter similar problems. It can be challenging to effectively support an initiative across a company; recognition programs in particular require participation from employees and leadership at every level of an organization, often from people that HR departments have very little direct contact with.

One of the most effective ways to facilitate a recognition program is through manager education and empowerment. Out of all employees, managers are the most in touch with the culture and team interaction in a company. They are your most valuable asset when it comes to influencing adoption and facilitating the success of an employee recognition program.

Educate your managers on how to set up a rhythm of recognition within their teams. Remember that effective recognition is both on-the-spot and scheduled. Managers can set weekly or bi-weekly reminders to send out recognitions to their team members. These timely recognitions will reinforce the positive behaviors and hard work within a team , and also create a stable atmosphere of recognition. For all types of recognition, managers should be educated on the best practices for sending recognitions—timely, specific, and meaningful recognition is the most effective tool for engaging employees.

Empower and encourage your managers to recognize their team. An effective manager is able to take ownership of creating a positive atmosphere amongst his or her team. Managers set an example for their team, and they can also assist their team to recognize effectively by modeling positive behaviors to drive results.

In the HR department, it is your role to help managers use your employee recognition program effectively, but it is their responsibility to ensure that their team is involved and engaged to the best of their abilities.

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