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by Roy Saunderson | May 11, 2015
A recent OfficeTeam survey found a disconnect between managers' and employees' answer to the question, "How effective do you think your company is at recognizing employees for good performance?" It seems 89 percent of senior managers felt their organization was good at showing appreciation to workers. But only 70 percent of employees gave their firms high marks for acknowledging their achievements. Start correcting that by looking at these Top 10 Reasons Why Companies Fail at Employee Recognition:

1. No Commitment: Only when leaders are fully committed to using recognition as a strategic tool for achieving business goals and elevating engagement and people strategies, will recognition and reward programs and practices really take off in companies.

2. No Purpose: Everyone in the organization has to be on the same page about recognition and rewards. They will need to know what recognition and rewards mean, and why you use them for what reason and when. Answer the why and the how will become more obvious.

3. No Strategy: An effective recognition strategy keeps all business units focused on how to use the available formal, informal and everyday recognition programs and practices. Companies who have a written recognition strategy are more aligned with their business strategy too.

4. No Expectations: If you don't spell out the expectations for recognition giving to managers and to employees it just won't happen. You have to write it out, shout it out and repeat, that everyone has permission to recognize one another for making a difference and a contribution.

5. No Feedback: Too many people get away with doing things wrong or doing nothing at all and then we wonder why things fail. Similarly, the classic catching people doing things right requires giving exemplary recognizers the praise they deserve to encourage more recognition giving.

6. No Learning: Not everyone is a natural at acknowledging people's contributions and appreciating them meaningfully. Counter this with some well delivered online learning content and training, and using regular communication channels to promote giving recognition the right way.

7. No Resources: Some of us need help. Managers and employees alike need tips, tools and ideas readily at hand for knowing how to give sincere recognition and the right and wrong ways of an effective thank you card or note. Make sure online resources and tangible supplies are on hand.

8. No Measurement: We often limit metrics to the operational usage of our online recognition programs. It is critical to mesh these quantitative reports with valuable employee perception data of recognition effectiveness drawn from pulse checks, focus groups and engagement surveys.

9. No Accountability: Recognition giving and effective usage of programs will always be lacking if managers do not have performance management reviews of their recognition giving or program administrators are not being held accountable for the ROI of performance and recognition programs.

10. No Reinforcement: The effective art and practice of recognition giving as well as commendable use of existing reward and recognition programs needs to be celebrated. Senior leaders must highlight managers and employees who masterfully appreciate great employees in the company.

Incentive columnist Roy Saunderson is author of Giving the Real Recognition Way and is the Chief Learning Officer of Rideau's Recognition Management Institute, a consulting and training company which helps leaders and managers get recognition right. He can be reached at RoySaunderson@Rideau.com. Also, check out the library of Real Recognition Radio shows.