Incentra Insights

How to Talk to Your Managers about Employee Recognition

Posted by David Chittock on Oct 22, 2015 2:06:10 PM

The Biggest Challenge


I talk to a lot of HR Leaders about the challenges they face when implementing an employee recognition program.  Invariably, they all seem to agree on one thing.  One of their biggest challenges is getting managers and department heads on board with the program.  This can sometimes be an uphill battle and HR needs to understand where the resistance might be coming from.  Here are some thoughts on why this happens and how HR leaders can overcome it.


Not Everyone Has People Skills


Most managers have competencies in their specific area of expertise. It might be technology, finance, R&D, quality assurance, sales and marketing; in short, a whole host of skill sets that are not completely people focused.  HR Managers have the benefit if being deeply grounded in people skills.  Their education is based almost totally on how to manage, motivate and fully engage workers.  They study human psychology and the reasons people behave the way they do.  They are taught how to counsel others, diffuse bad situations, and build relationships.  But many of their counterparts in the organization have not had the benefit of this training.


Step One: Alleviate Fears


Many managers resist employee recognition because they’re afraid they won’t be good at it.  They fear they may be viewed as playing favorites; singling out certain individuals over others.  They may not be comfortable praising workers for; in their opinion, just doing their jobs.  They worry that employee recognition may be too time consuming and interfere with them doing their own work.  They may have the perception that employee recognition is so much fluff and not serious work-related activity.  Good HR Managers are going to have to find ways to counteract these fears and misconceptions.


Step Two: Give Them the Straight Story


It’s the HR Manager’s job to make sure everyone understands the importance of employee recognition to the organization.  You’re going to have to give your managers solid facts and figures as to how much employee satisfaction impacts the bottom line and generates positive results.  Far from being fluff, employee recognition is one of key drivers of employee engagement which has an enormous effect on the organization’s success.  You will need to emphasize how employee recognition must be values-based, that is, tied directly to the organization’s mission and goals.  Then and only then will managers be able to nurture those behaviors and activities that fulfil the mission.


Step Three: Give Them the Right Skills, Tools and Techniques


You can’t assume that your managers will automatically know how to recognize, reward, and motivate their employees. You’re going to have to give them some formal training in behavioral psychology, human motivation, and relationship building.  You will also have to school them in Best Practices in employee recognition to equip them with the methods and procedures that will ensure their success.  Finally, you will need to provide them the technology tools they will need to easily, quickly, and professionally manage and track their employee recognition programs.  Of course that’s where we come in.  We know how to do this.  We can help you meet this challenge head on. You can count on it!

Categories: Employee Recognition