Is Your Services Team Getting the Recognition it Deserves?
Several years ago, I worked as a senior consultant at an embedded Professional Services Organization (PSO). Our team developed business processes and technical solutions that saved the company hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. We received no recognition from executive management, and it took time and distance for me to understand how to avoid the same fate for my team.
Each summer, the company had an annual awards gala. Executive management gave cash awards and plaques to individuals and groups within the company for their notable contributions. Sales teams received trips to a President's Club event for exceeding their quotas.
Although our internal customers regularly sent thank-you emails to our team, we were never recognized for our achievements or nominated for company awards. In our final year together as a team, our manager asked us to protest by not attending the awards ceremony, saying that our team would hold a private celebration instead.
The celebration was a private tour and tasting at a local winery. Our team and a handful of their significant others were the only people in attendance. A glass of wine and an afternoon off work paled by comparison to the recognition of the all-hands awards ceremony. Our manager explained that the company awards ceremony had been for "them" and not for "us". That brief statement showed how insular our culture had become.
Executive management disbanded our PSO the following year, saying that our team did not add value to the company. It was only then that we began to understand that our PS Manager had neglected to mention our successful projects.
It is the duty of an effective Professional Services Manager to publicize the accomplishments of their practice area. Neglecting to promote those achievements means that your team will labor in obscurity, and grow frustrated over the lack of recognition. If you do not advertise their successes, no one else will.
As a best practice:
- Add a new quarterly task to your to-do list to read through the end of engagement reports from your practice area.
- Summarize significant accomplishments as a series of bullet points and arrange them around corporate strategic objectives or themes.
- Add a couple brief narratives citing specific achievements by named individuals from your team, or quote client feedback.
- Send the report to other practice area leaders, and CC your management team, your PSO, and one or two select executives.
Although you are aware of your team’s contributions, you will quickly learn that others are not watching them so closely. The most frequent reply I receive for my brief quarterly email is a thank you, and congratulations to the team for their achievements. Well-timed recognition from a senior VP or executive goes a long way in boosting team morale. This simple internal marketing campaign will also help to position your staff for formal recognition, awards, and promotions.