4 ways to fix a broken employee recognition program

broken recognitionSo often companies establish a great framework for recognising a workforce yet it fails to become embedded in their culture.

Amazingly, 3 out of 4 businesses have a recognition program but only 58% of their employees are aware it exists.

This disconnect indicates that despite good intentions, the investment some organisations make in these solutions is no more than a wasted opportunity.

But a few simple changes can turn the fate of an underperforming or unknown recognition program around.

Connect to what you stand for.
According to Forbes, when ‘trust, values and a purpose-inspired mission do not drive behaviour in a company, far fewer engagement traits exist.’ When recognition and reward back up what the company wants to achieve, 96% of employees have a ‘strong grasp’ of organisational objectives and are extremely aware of core values.

Restructure your program so that the company mission drives the daily activities and exchanges that result in being recognised and rewarded. By providing a purpose, you will give impetus to positive cultural change and create a ‘values-driven’ organisation where employees are 5 times more likely to feel appreciated.

Ensure your managers know their role.
The motivation of your employees will directly correlate with the behaviours of their immediate supervisors. Yet more than 80% of businesses do not provide managers with training on how to utilise their recognition program as a tool for engagement.

To have the greatest impact, educating your leadership team about how they can empower your workforce should be a priority. Beyond reinforcing the company goals, it is their job to ensure recognition is timely, rewards are individualised and employees are thanked regularly for their achievements. Your peoples’ perception of the value of a recognition program will increase when their manager actively supports it.

Communicate, and then communicate again.
Employees can’t be expected to interact with a program if it remains foreign to them. While it’s preferred to communicate the program’s rationale from day one – it’s also never too late to start.

Regularly utilise all highly visible communication channels, from company newsletters, the intranet to email and face to face meetings. Ensure management are involved with publicly emphasising how your core principles are linked with recognition, and the positive implications for your employees and the business. These are your opportunities to further outline that the key to reward is meeting or exceeding expectations in alignment with values.

Think outside the square.
Creatively and imaginatively leveraging your internal recognition brand across different channels is a great way to engage a diverse audience and increase awareness and buy in.

Consider developing videos, screensavers, competitions, a ‘hall of fame’ or mobile and social solutions to document your program and increase the visibility of your recognition activity. Choose mediums that enable employees to share ‘good news’ stories more effectively and interact with other colleagues to facilitate peer-to-peer thanks. Draw on what’s appropriate for your business and make it fun. Injecing some life into your program will encourage uptake.

Give these suggestions a try.

You’ll soon realise your employee recognition program can act less as an afterthought and more as a catalyst for cultural change and happy, productive employees.




Sources: High-Impact Performance Management: Maximizing Performance Coaching, Bersin & Associates / Stacia Sherman Garr, Globoforce MoodTracker 2012, Forum, Incentive Research Foundation, Human Capital Institute – Value and ROI in employee engagement report, http://www.smeweb.com reward and recognition on a budget, The Impact of Rewards Programs on Employee Engagement, Dow Scott, Ph.D., Loyola University Tom McMullen, Hay Group, WorldatWork, Achieve Global, Survey Report Asia, 2012

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