Rewards and Recognition: On the Minds of Leaders

I recently had the honor of moderating an amazing webinar along with Jeff Birk, Manager of Speakingscreen-shot-2016-10-31-at-8-49-55-am and Training for O.C. Tanner, on the topic of “How to Influence Great Work and Create a Culture of Success.” This webinar was terrific because: 1) the real-life recognition and reward stories and counsel from O.C. Tanner; 2) the lively Q & A at the end of the presentation; and 3) the more than 500 people who registered for the webinar!  Of course, I highlighted some of Brandon Hall Group’s recent research findings. By the way, it really gladdens my heart to see so many people interested in this topic.

I thought I would give you a summary of some of those questions and answers from the webinar because they reflect what is on the minds of many leaders.

Q: Does anyone find that their organization’s rewards and recognition programs have gone stale?

The big mistake, according to Jeff, is that everyone assumes their employees will like the way they are being recognized. And, that is definitely not the case. In one instance, described to our audience, after being recognized among coworkers the employee told the manager to never to do that again! That employee did not want to be singled out, even for praise. The simple solution to this problem is to survey employees to find out about their favorite interests and activities, and – most importantly – how they prefer to be recognized, such as on a one-to-one basis or among peers. To everyone’s delight, Jeff offered O.C. Tanner’s employee survey template to attendees.

Q: I am in charge of six locations; how can my organization engage remote employees?

Regardless of whether the employees are in one location, in multiple locations, or across oceans – it is essential to reward and recognize them so that they all feel part of the organization and part of the recognition moment. Taking the time and effort to include all remote employees on a phone call for the purpose of appreciating, recognizing, and rewarding employees will strengthen everyone’s engagement with the organization. O.C. Tanner does that with their worldwide employees on a frequent basis.

In addition to phone calls, rewards and recognition technology can really make remote workers an integral and active part of the organization. Rewards and recognition technology can reflect the organization’s brand and facilitate recognition and appreciation anywhere. Remote workers become active participants in recognizing other employees and in receiving recognition.

Q: Should meaningful recognition come from the top?

According to Jeff – and I agree — meaningful recognition should come from all directions – horizontally, vertically, and sideways. One example is a call center. Sometimes the manager is not aware of everything that is going on and is not able to recognize people who deserve it. Having a rewards and recognition program enables peers to recognize each other. This benefits the overall call center culture and helps improve performance and engagement.

Of course, there was much more discussed. You, too, can listen to our webinar and see the research statistics that create the business case for a rewards and recognition program and learn how to influence great work and a culture of success.

Daria Friedman, Principal Analyst, Talent Acquisition, Brandon Hall Group

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Mike Cooke



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Mike Cooke

Chief Executive Officer of Brandon Hall Group Mike Cooke Prior to joining Brandon Hall Group, Mike Cooke was the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of AC Growth. Mike held leadership and executive positions for the majority of his career, at which he was responsible for steering sales and marketing teams to drive results and profitability. His background includes more than 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, management, and operations in the research, consulting, software and technology industries. Mike has extensive experience in sales, marketing and management having worked for several early high-growth emerging businesses and has implemented technology systems to support various critical sales, finance, marketing and client service functions. He is especially skilled in organizing the sales and service strategy to fully support a company’s growth strategy. The concept of growth was an absolute to Mike and a motivator in starting AC Growth, in order to help organizations achieve research driven results. Most recently, Mike was the VP and General Manager of Field Operations at Bersin & Associates, a global analyst and consulting services firm focused on all areas of enterprise learning, talent management and talent acquisition. Tasked with leading the company’s global expansion, Mike led all sales operations worldwide. During Mike’s tenure, the company has grown into a multi-national firm, conducting business in over 45 countries with over 4,500 multi-national organizations. Mike started his career at MicroVideo Learning Systems in 1992, eventually holding a senior management position and leading all corporate sales before founding Dynamic Minds. Mike was CEO and Co-Founder of Dynamic Minds, a custom developer of software programs, working with clients like Goldman Sachs, Prentice Hall, McGraw Hill and Merrill Lynch. Also, Mike worked for Oddcast, a leading provider of customer experience and marketing solutions, where he held a senior management position leading the company into new markets across various industries. Mike also serves on the Advisory Board for Carbon Solutions America, an independent sustainability consulting and carbon management firm that specializes in the design and implementation of greenhouse reduction and sustainability plans as well as managing the generation of carbon and renewal energy and energy efficiency credits. Mike attended University of Phoenix, studying Business Administration and Finance. He has also completed executive training at the Chicago Graduate School of Business in Chicago, IL.