Show Me the Recognition!

Author: Joy Kosta, MSWP, MHCS, HRBP | Source: HCI | Published: May 6, 2010

The character Jerry McGuire may have said, “Show me the money,” but Mark Twain said, “I can live for three months on a good compliment.” An article in McKinsey Quarterly, “Motivating people–Getting beyond money” points out the “economic slump offers business leaders a chance to more effectively reward talented employees by emphasizing nonfinancial motivators rather than bonuses.” 

A rich discussion with a dozen HCI senior practitioner members and Expert Advisors Rodger Stotz and Mike Ryan on the topics motivation, recognition and empowerment confirmed emerging themes and raised important questions about measuring the impact of recognition. Qualcomm accumulates the anecdotal impact of recognition. HCI members agreed on tracking recognition with data points such as talent performance, customer satisfaction, and operational efficiencies.  

Is there a perception that nonfinancial motivators take more time? Maybe not, however, why not do it if non-financial recognition is more memorable? "The Benefits of Tangible Non-monetary Incentives" explains why. Recognizing leaders who are strong “people developers” was recommended by an HCI content advisory member (and we know that what gets recognized gets repeated). 

Leadership skills to model recognition and leadership support for the recognition systems that optimize talent are consistent with Hay Group research on motivating leadership. It’s part of the “new deal” to keep the right talentJames K. Harter, Chief Scientist, who leads Workplace Management and Wellbeing at Gallup, will explain why there will be little of more importance to your organization than the ability to manage the expectation levels of high potential workers.

Ethics and values rank high on what motivates talent, explains Alex Brigham in Ethics as a Business Advantage. As a leader do you know the “ethical pulse” of your organization? The culture and ethics of the public sector (“serve the people”) and in health care (“do no harm”) raises expectations of their leaders. Hear an example from health care about how best in class organizations manage industry pressures, actions, human capital capabilities, and enablers to achieve results. In biotech, Genentech leads by example, named by FORTUNE magazine to the "100 Best Companies to Work For" twelve consecutive years, now building on their culture to influence their parent company Roche. 
On a personal recognition note, thanks HCI members, for the comments and feedback on these Talent Digest blogs; keep ‘em coming and I’ll keep writing and planning webcasts about what you’re most interested in! Your active participation builds a robust Leadership Community. So if you have a best practice in the works, let me know if you'd like to write a guest blog about it!
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Awards and recognition photo courtesy of B Tal