Recognize your people. Recognition positively impacts engagement. And right now, more than ever, an engaged workforce is your greatest asset and your best defense during this crisis.
In the frenzy and the disconnect between how we are used to working versus how we are working, leaders are not devoting enough time to consistently recognizing their people that pulled together to reinvent and sustain operations under tremendous duress.We aren't talking about a strategic approach to managing a transactional rewards program that spits out trinkets and gift cards. We are talking about the real deal; the human act of personally singing the praises and acknowledging the invaluable contributions of individuals and teams that made the impossible, possible.
Let’s take a second to fundamentally make the hard-line connection between recognition and engagement through the lens of HRO. The down and dirty purpose of High Reliability Organizing is to avoid known and unknown catastrophic threats that could compromise operations and outcomes in complex, high stakes, fast-paced industries…healthcare, aerospace, and nuclear energy. Recognizing the power of engaged employees to protect the systems and processes that affect outcomes is at the heart of HRO.
These are simple equations.
Recognized employees are energized and engaged employees.
Appreciative leaders are appreciated leaders.
If you lead from your heart and your head through this crisis, you’ll emerge with an aligned and energized organization that is better prepared for whatever is coming next. It doesn’t get any simpler than that.
The question is “What do you want more of?” An old friend used to say that “more is better” and when it comes to “improving the function of your organization”, you set the expectation and tone for what you will get more of…
Do you want more innovation, recognize it.
Do you want more expertise, acknowledge the power of it.
Do want a culture of engagement and proactivity, highlight it every time you see it.
Great leaders speak the language of more.
If you want your working culture to adopt an aptitude for continuous improvement, you have to cultivate, recognize and reward it.
Challenge the entire leadership team to recognize and elevate your people, privately and publicly, in real and meaningful ways.
Use your positions to raise others up. In doing so, you’ll improve the function of your organization.
So, what you and your leadership team need to do is start is to schedule time to pop in to see every team and department across the organization, across all shifts. Come in early, stay late over as long as it takes. And when you get through every team and department, do it again. The goal is to recognize the expert contributions that teams or departments made throughout the transition that sustained operations or protected outcomes. Be specific. Plan to spend 30 minutes with the group. Find out what they need to succeed. Listen to them, support them, and thank them. Go into the experience with the intention of making a meaningful connection with the contributors, despite it being a group pow-wow.
Here’s the moral of the story…High reliability organization’s develop repeatable systems, formal and informal, that reinforce operational excellence. Developing a culture of support and gratitude for one another starts with you popping in consistently to thank people for hard work and credible expertise that you can count on.
Pull your leadership team together. Let them know that you expect praise to be free flowing across every layer of the organization. Together commit to promoting a recognition-rich culture.