The most important aspect of a recognition is the story that it tells; however, as part of the review process, managers are asked to select the type of recognition based on impact.
The type selected describes whether an action is part of the job or goes beyond a person’s usual role. Differentiating recognitions by impact is important as it reinforces the need for examples of doing the job well, and it also allows managers to acknowledge employees who demonstrate the extra effort and truly go above and beyond. Both examples are valuable, but they are a bit different. Finally, categorizing helps managers to clarify what is expected—that is, actions that managers and leaders want everyone to do consistently, compared to actions that are great to have sometimes (to create an exceptional experience) but aren't always necessary or expected.
Setting the Standard
Doing the job in a way that others can learn from.
Example: An employee who deals with a frustrated customer in a polite and helpful way, causing the customer to change from being critical to grateful.
Above and Beyond
Exceeding the expectations of what is normally part of the job.
Example: An employee who gives up time off at the last minute to come in and cover a shift or complete a project.
Going above and beyond in a way that has a significant (or potentially significant) impact on business results.
Example: An employee who identifies a way to improve a process that isn’t his or hers to own and proactively takes steps to implement those improvements.
When in doubt
When you are reviewing a recognition and aren’t certain which type to assign, you can get additional clarity in these ways:
- Return the recognition to the author to get more information or clarification.
- Forward the notification email to other managers for their input.
- Review other published recognitions.
If you think the recognition is not one that others could learn from and is not powerful enough to warrant a formal post, you can say to the author:
“While I understand you want to acknowledge this person, I’m not sure how much others would learn from this story. I recommend using a more personal face-to-face thank-you rather than a formal recognition post.”
(Review the notes on removing recognitions before you decide to remove a post.)
Consistency in recognition types
One of the advantages of having recognition types is that it gives managers the opportunity to have discussions about job expectations and, over time, to communicate more consistently to employees about what is expected of them.
In the beginning, it is normal to have misalignment in the way recognitions are categorized. What is “part of the job” to one manager may be considered “above and beyond” by another. However, as managers get more experience categorizing and discussing recognitions, the types of recognitions selected will become more consistent.