But when thinking of “opportunity for all to participate,” we must also talk about people at all levels of the organization being allowed to participate as well. Applied Materials CEO Mike Splinter says it best: “If I think someone has really done a good job, I’ll send a personal note to say it’s appreciated. It doesn’t matter to me what layer in the company they are.”
It’s not shocking, however, to hear of those at the top recognizing those in the lower ranks. Too often, the lower ranks are discouraged (intentionally or just by cultural reaction) from recognizing those above them out of fear of being viewed as currying favor. But those in leadership need recognition, too. In his KnowHr blog (and reprinted in Fall 2009 issue of the Conference Board Review), Frank Roche spoke succinctly and brilliantly on this point:
“I don’t remember what age I was when I noticed that people no longer told me that I was doing a great job. It’s not like I stopped doing good work — it’s that people think that once you get to a certain age or certain place in life that you don’t need praise anymore. … But what I do realize is that people need praise throughout their careers. Senior managers like to hear that they’re doing well as much as they did when they were junior functionaries. It applies to everyone — the price of praise is free. Tell someone today.”
An even better reason for ensuring all employees, at all ranks and levels, are included in a strategic recognition program that is based on your company values? Research shows it’s critical to employee engagement:
“The factor that has the strongest correlation with engagement is Leadership. There is a 51% difference between engaged and disengaged employees for the statement ‘senior managers truly live the values of this organisation.’”
If you want your leaders to live the values of the organization and be sure your rank and file employees notice that these values are being lived and demonstrated, then you’d better involve everyone – at every rank – in a strategic recognition program that links every recognition to a company value.