5 Ways to Give IT Recognition

IT’s work can be hidden away and therefore ignored. But it can pay to put a spotlight on it.

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Appreciating IT workers

We all like to know that our efforts are appreciated. For people working in IT, recognition is too often neglected, simply because so much of what IT workers do is behind the scenes and goes unnoticed by the majority of employees.

Click through to see five things that Paul Ingevaldson, author of The 9 ½ Secrets of a Great IT Organization, did when he was the CIO at Ace Hardware that cost little to nothing and that you can implement today.

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Two-level reviews

My practice was to conduct a follow-up review for everyone in my organization after their review by their direct supervisor. If you’re worried that this could take a lot of your time, you’re right. But it’s worth it. The payoff is that you learn more about employees who don’t report directly to you, and if you focus on their future in the follow-up review as I did, they feel more engaged. Be aware, though, that the feeling of engagement will dissipate if, after ask your employees about their goals and the skills they want to acquire, you then do nothing to help.

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Birthday greetings

Is it really worth your time to keep track of all your employees’ birthdays and send them birthday greetings every year? It was for me. I was always amazed at the reaction. Invariably, employees would either responded with an emailed thank-you or conveyed their thanks when they ran into me in the cafeteria line or hallway. I always sent an email instead of a card, but I liked to make mention of something that the person was working on and stress its importance to the department and the company.

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Incentives

This one costs money as well as time, but coming up with appropriate incentives for your staff can be very effective. When you publicly give out rewards for the on-time and on-budget completion of projects, you could find that other projects experience less spec creep and blown deadlines. Bit by bit, IT will reap its own rewards, as it gains a reputation of getting the job done on time.

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Awards dinners

Done right, an awards dinner can be fun and rewarding for your staff. I did this every January to recognize the accomplishments of the previous year. If your budget won’t allow you to host everyone in the IT department, just invite the senior people in IT, but be sure to include the company officers. Their presence tells your people that their efforts are appreciated throughout the company.

As for the awards, I would have my senior managers submit nominations, and then I made the final decisions. Categories we recognized included “best use of a new technology to develop a system for the company,” “most important system implemented during the year,” “the user department that worked best with IT to develop a new application for the company” and “the department that was the hardest to deal with.”

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Executive helpers

I got this idea from an IT magazine. We had a problem getting senior executives accustomed to using their desktop and mobile computers most advantageously. Their schedules made offering them classes difficult, but the executives were also reluctant to display their lack of knowledge in companywide training classes. The idea I borrowed was to name several IT people who would be willing to spend one-on-one time with the executives in their offices helping them to understand the best way to use the technology. The IT staffers had to promise that they would never use this task as an excuse for not completing their projects, and the executives had to limit the time to one or two hours a month.

The result was great. The executives learned a lot about the features of their systems, and the IT staffers got to meet many of the top executives in our company.