Understanding what factors create and sustain effective recognition programs is essential to maintaining a motivated workforce. It has been widely proven that employee recognition programs can positively impact a company’s retention, culture and productivity. But the question remains, how to build a successful employee recognition program in the organization? However to be able to design and sustain benefits from such a program, we believe companies need to consider the following
Here are some factors for developing successful employee recognition program
Make recognition a strategic priority
It’s a critical component which ensures that recognition program is not just providing lip service but is deeply ingrained in the way you do business and is aligned to your strategic objectives. This ensures the program has high participation from key leaders in the organization that embodies the recognition behaviours that they espouse from employees. By tying the recognition outcomes to quantifiable, measurable outcomes like engagement, performance and retention it becomes easier to provide a return on investment (ROI) of a recognition program. This also ensures that your recognition programs reward “doing the right thing” and recognize the behaviours that aid in achieving of stated company objectives. Such strategically designed recognition programs help organizations define the Meta work habits that are reinforced and create a positive spiral which can be a source of your strategic advantage. When one looks at companies like Walt Disney widely recognized for their work, you will quickly notice that recognition programs are very tightly weaved into the organizational fabric and are a strategic vehicle.
Determine the relevant vehicles
It’s not surprising to see that many organizations continue to recognize employees for tenure in the organization and such recognition is part of the overall program. However recent research has shown that such recognition has very little impact on any of the measurable metrics mentioned above. In most cases many employees are not even aware of existence of such awards. In the design of your recognition programs it’s imperative that we consider multiple recognition vehicles aligned to deliver the intended results defined as part of your strategic objectives. 3 out of 4 organizations are currently using Peer to Peer recognition programs as they deliver highest value. Because employees value the recognition received from their peer group more than the one received from top management. The typical recognition programs that rely on a bureaucratic process are often seen as political and may not even reach the “quiet” performers in most teams. However public recognition by senior leaders continues to remain the 2nd best choice for most companies. We recommend that you choose what is aligned with your strategic objectives and your culture. The entire recognition program is designed to motivate employees so there is no harm in asking them what vehicles they would value the most.
Make it relevant, current, personal and visible
As you look at your recognition program it’s important that you critically evaluate the gap between actual behaviour and recognition of the same. Often times with significant gap between these 2 actions any recognition action loses its impact and effectiveness. For this your criteria for what is being rewarded should be clearly defined and articulated. It would be important for you to also assess the understanding of people by monitoring the actual usage and analysing the trends across geographies and groups within the organization.
The other critical aspect of a successful recognition program is when it’s personalized. So look to use tools that allow you to personalize the recognition while ensuring it’s still aligned with your overall strategic objectives and is anchored to functional behaviours you wish to recognize.
Modern high performance recognition programs are “social”, where they let everyone in the organization recognize everyone else. Such recognition is totally public and is visible on a leader board so anyone can see them. However just creating such social platform does not guarantee success the other critical aspect is to create stories from the recognition programs and share those stories widely in both internal and external forums. Such well crafted stories help improve employee engagement and learning. You might also like to read 4 ways an employee recognition platform improves your employee engagement process
So remember that recognition programs address the psychological need for love and belongingness to the workplace, as per Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. A well designed recognition program can help improve the “discretionary” effort from employees as they feel inspired to do more. When your company embraces such well crafted modern recognition program in which its trivially simple for employees to recognize each other, trust and engagement go up- improving employee morale, quality and customer service.
I hope this blog post has given you some ideas about how to build a successful employee recognition program in your organization. So, start implementing employee recognition program that will help you to drive motivation in your employees.