by Roy Saunderson, MA, CRP | January 14, 2019
Recognition happens well in companies where leaders lead the way with recognition giving. They exemplify by their actions the importance of employee recognition by valuing their people and their contributions. Consider working on any or all of these Top 10 Ways Leaders Can Raise the Value of Recognition in your company or by putting them on the leadership development plans.

1. Senior leaders bring strategic focus. Senior leaders interpret external business trends and give implications for your company. You must then explore how recognition and reward programs can assist your leaders.

2. Leaders must be exemplary recognizers. They lead by using social recognition and other recognition programs daily to acknowledge and thank staff for positive contributions made. Recognition always starts at the top.

3. Your leaders hold others accountable. They are positive reinforcers of recognition giving and give a kick-in-the-pants to non-participants. Leaders can drive recognition through regular feedback sessions with managers.

4. They consistently communicate recognition's value. Draw upon senior leaders to be the face of recognition through all available communication channels. Have them video record messages and celebrate all that's good.

5. Leaders celebrate daily greatness. Your leadership team are the performance coaches of the company. They're the catalysts for outstanding things happening by stopping and celebrating people doing amazing work.

6. Your leaders can recognize talent. In a tight labor market, leaders can identify people's strengths and recognize them for their specific skills. Giving staff members career and skill development opportunities can be a form of recognition.

7. They spark recognition innovation. Leaders stimulate new ways of doing recognition. Consider AI with recognition programs such that the spoken word is the interface with your programs to recognize people, as if face-to-face.

8. Get leaders to promote new learning. Leaders encourage employees at all levels to learn effective recognition-giving skills and use them on the job. Work systems should coach and educate people to give better recognition.

9. Senior leaders are windows into the company. Leaders give the face of the company culture and values -- both positively or negatively -- as they interact with the external community. They're a billboard of how valued people feel.

10. Your leaders can demand ROI. Your recognition programs might need to be revived if they are not producing results. Senior leaders can set expectations for business impact and clear financial benefits of all recognition programs.

Incentive columnist Roy Saunderson is the author ofGiving the Real Recognition Way. The Vistance Institute chief learning officer at Rideau Inc., Saunderson provides consulting, learning, and thought leadership services focused on helping leaders and managers give real recognition the right way. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter (@RoySaunderson) and at his blog.