Recognition Gone Wrong * There’s Nobody Here but Me

Continuing the announcements our prize winners in the Recognition Gone Wrong contest, here’s our second place finisher with her story of wrecked recognition:
“I work for freight forwarder for the past 15 years. When I took over, there were Cargo Correction Advices (CCAs) dating back to 10 years ago. It was so out of control and no one was addressing it, so I took it upon myself to sit down with the carriers and laid down some rules of timely submissions. In the end I was able to have them waive 80% of the total CCAs still open, thus saving the company thousands of dollars. The remaining 20% we were able to work out a plan to split the difference, thus saving the company some more dollars.

To this day, my manager never acknowledged what I did. Today, I am still handling the same things, rate changes, surcharges that the carriers impose that up and down with different rates and dates of affectivity. I am on top of everything and to this date, there is no open weight or rate discrepancies. I tackle these issues right on as no one will.

When my manager has visitors from the carriers, he never brings them to the staff to introduce them. It is like we are nobody. Especially on Carrier parties, he never extends the invitation to us. I think it is important that immediate managers recognize that it is not only him but me and all the staff that work with him and for him that make him and the company successful. Making us feel that we matter is key to trust and loyalty.”
Notice in this story, the person isn’t asking for anything more than simple acknowledgment. And therein lies a powerful lesson for all managers. Often, people only want to know that you see them, you see what they do and you appreciate it. It’s like the Zulu greeting for hello, literally, “I see you.”

How could this recognition have been made right?
* First, the manager should thank the person for their efforts to save the company what seems to be significant money while instituting a simple process to ensure that money is not wasted. Praise them for taking on a task no one else seems to want to do.
* Second, the manager should be sure his manager also knows of this significant achievement. Passing praise up the chain is equally important.<
* Third, involve caring and committed employees such as this person in the activities of the company, especially those that impact on or are a result of their work. Clearly, the manager should introduce the employee to the people she works with.
* Finally, this employee is obviously a hard worker. But the company could benefit even more from her work if she were deeply engaged. Such praise, acknowledgment and inclusion could significantly raise her engagement levels.

What else would you do to make it right? Tell me in comments.

2 comment(s):

At February 08, 2010 7:18 AM, Anonymous said...

Nothing is worse than working so hard to achieve greatness and no one ever finds out. There are many ways to motivate your team, bolster loyalty & elevate morale on a budget. Sometimes all you need to do is:
-Take a genuine interest in people.
-Keeping an open line of communication.
-Help people to understand the importance of their role.
-Bestow recognition on your team.
-Cultivate their career development plans.
Here is an article on on how to do that.

At February 09, 2010 10:03 AM, Derek Irvine said...

Thanks for the comment, Jason. All of the points you list are key components of truly strategic recognition, which goes beyond a simple thank you to give recipients context, meaning and purpose of the value of their roles and how significant and important their contributions are.