How to Recognize Offline Employees When You Have Recognition Programs

You are grateful that your company has these great, online recognition programs, to send important and worthy messages of recognition to people.

Now you can send branded eCards to one another when someone is seen living your corporate values or achieving a strategic priority. You can even send messages of appreciation and recognition via a social newsfeed on your social recognition program. Peers can like these comments about their colleagues and add their own words of commendation and praise. And, your managers, can nominate employees for an award or actually reward them with points for going above and beyond.

That is, as long as employees have an email address, a computer or an electronic device, and can receive notifications from any of the above vehicles of recognition.

But, if many of your employees are offline and have no company email address, and also no electronic device on the job, how do you get frontline supervisors and managers to embrace online recognition programs? (more…)

Top 10 Ways to Select the Right Incentive or Recognition Award

Make sure the awards you give excite recipients and represent your company well.

Choosing the right awards for your various incentive and recognition programs is never an easy task. You want to show employees that their contributions are valued and appreciated. Awards should match your program’s goals and celebrate employee achievements. Today’s employees want more than the traditional award items. Check out the Top 10 Ways to Select the Right Incentive or Recognition Award to help you decide.

1. Clearly spell out your program’s purpose. Is this award for a sales campaign? Are you wanting to get people enlisted in your health and wellness platform? Or is this a prestigious award for the president’s excellence program? Awards must always fit the program purpose and desired performance level.

2. Have employees involved and ask them. Use an employee survey to get the big picture view and employee input. Ask them to prioritize on criteria such as the meaningfulness and perception of various award options. Draw upon focus groups, too, so you can dig deeper. Solicit the why behind each employee idea.

3. Focus on the meaningfulness factor. Employees are very clear on whether an award item is meaningful or not. Always add on to the award presentation. For example, who’s presenting the award? How have you orchestrated the total award celebration experience? What elements can you make even better?

4. Inspire and excite award recipients. Does the incentive or recognition award inspire the recipient to do, and be, better? As you explore award items – whether tangible gifts or symbolic awards – find out how excited employees are to receive them. Evaluate the emotional appeal of the awards you’re thinking about.

5. Provide choice wherever you can. Giving people exciting options to decide from is a great way to create motivation. Whether the awards are a lifestyle item, health and fitness, electronics, outdoor, or experiential items, charitable donations, or gift cards. Think choice! This factor can be especially critical with incentives.

6. Always use quality, name brand products. It can be a real let down when an award gift breaks or stops functioning shortly after receiving it. Stick with brand name items that are top quality. Ensure your award vendor is reputable and has a great exchange and replacement policy. Your award speaks for you.

7. Put symbolic awards on a pedestal. Trophies and medals must be totally representative of your organization. Look at Olympic medals and the Oscars® for what they mean to recipients. Whatever symbolic award the design must be an extension of the company and your brand. They will become a treasured prize.

8. Think outside of the box for novel ideas. No need to stay with the tried and true award selections. Dabble in creativity such as a customized portrait painting from a family photo of a recipient. Provide an opportunity to learn something new from an expert that the employee has mentioned such as painting or in music.

9. Move from tangible to experiential. Corporate volunteer trips to destinations around the world appeal to younger generation employees. They can build schools or set up wells with water access. This is a fully immersive cultural and teambuilding experience that leaves a legacy associated with your company.

10. Choose your own adventure. Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman made famous the idea of doing things before you “kick the bucket”. Have employees choose experiences that bring joy. It could be skydiving, an amazing destination experience like whale watching in Patagonia, or cooking with a chef in Paris.

 

A version of this post first appeared in Incentive Magazine.

How Good Is Your Recognition Program Anyway?

Lots of companies think their recognition programs are the very best. Many that I have seen are truly pretty amazing and exemplary. A few think of themselves a little better than they really are. But at least they’re trying.

Since judging the best practices nominations submitted to Recognition Professionals International for the past 11-years, I have seen the overview of nearly a hundred or so recognition programs. Based on the criteria that I had a hand in developing, the other judges and I score each nomination, and also provide helpful, written feedback on their programs.

Often, those who submit their nomination the first time receive a best in class award covering a few of the seven best practice standards. They usually act on the judges’ feedback and resubmit the following year. If companies carry out the recommendations that judges suggested they typically raise the bar and can merit earning the best practices overall award.

How good do you think your recognition programs are? If you submitted a best practices award nomination for your company, would you measure up?

Take a look at RPI’s seven best practice standards below and assess where you think you would stack up on a seven or 10 point scale. (more…)

Handle Negativity About Recognition Problems as a Gift

Getting complaints about your recognition programs, or having to listen to the naysayers in the room about employee recognition practices, can be a draining and daunting experience to deal with.

One big secret for dealing with negativity around recognition initiatives is to treat each encounter as a gift. I’ll share with you what I mean by this, shortly.

If you can learn how to handle negative feedback about recognition practices and programs in a positive and productive way, you’ll be ready for anything that comes your way. (more…)

Top 10 Ways To Revive Your Recognition Programs

When recognition programs stop working properly, employees and organizations go into a state of cultural “cardiac” arrest. Unchecked, your sick programs can result in disengagement and deathly poor morale levels. If intervention happens quickly you can restart and put new life into your recognition programs. Make sure you examine carefully these Top 10 Ways to Revive Your Recognition Programs. Choose one or two steps to apply to your recognition programs today.

  1. Check out the heart rhythm of your programs. Analyze the recognition program data to observe usage: who is using the program, who is getting recognized, and find out what people are actually being recognized for. And, who has NOT been recognized?
  2. Ask employees how recognized they feel. Describe their current recognition symptoms. Employees’ perceptions of your programs will give you a solid readout. Have employees share how program usage could be improved. Ask how they could be more involved.
  3. Determine root-cause analysis for unhealthy programs. Could it be: Lack of awareness? Invisible access? Poor education and recognition training? No communication supports? Not top of mind? No expectations for recognition? Perceptions of no time to use?
  4. Programs may need shock treatment. Deliver a new current of energy and enthusiasm to get back on track. This could be a new program design, new rules, purpose, and rebranding. Clarify the expectations and hold people accountable. Create a communication campaign to revitalize.
  5. Remove arterial blockages to your programs. If there are design and system issues then get IT and your strategy design people to quickly assess and make instant changes. Also, check out and correct people’s attitudes and intentions. If programs are vendor driven involve your account rep.
  6. Educate why you use recognition programs. Reinforce your organization’s strategy, goals, and culture about recognition. The more consistently and better your programs are used the more engaged and productive employees will be. Give people a better purpose and request they identify their “why”.
  7. Recognition programs mostly stop working because of people. When programs break down no recognition gets pumped to people in the company. Work on problems but make sure to educate people on effective program usage. Find out the specific barriers people raise and address each one.
  8. Provide supports to defibrillate your programs back to life. Improve and check reports regularly to determine concerns. Use eLearning to teach effective program practice. Send regular communication messages to encourage adoption. Have leaders and managers set a positive example.
  9. Don’t face recognition program failure alone. Recognition program revival is a team effort where you must partner with leaders, managers, and employees. You must take charge of the choices and needs that affect effective programs. Establish a recognition committee and meet regularly.
  10. When all else fails, plan a program transplant. Removing a damaged and ineffective program by replacing it with a new one is no easy decision. But, if a program isn’t working properly and has caused irreversible damage – change it! Then use the previous steps to help prevent future problems.

 

This post is based on a posting by the author in Incentive Magazine.

How to Get Greater Participation with Your Recognition Portal

You’re excited about your recognition programs portal. You have everything you have asked for over several years of design and development.

Your recognition portal houses a recent peer-to-peer, social recognition program. You can easily access your career milestones program from here as well. The social news feed allows everyone to know about career and personal anniversaries and people can make comments, add replies, and like messages of praise, acknowledgment, and thanks for the great things happening at your company.

And, your supervisors and managers, have access to a performance-based reward and recognition program.  Here they can give rewards accompanied by recognition to employees who go above and beyond in their work.

You launch your new all-access recognition portal. Then it’s crickets.

Your wish is to get more employees and managers involved in effectively using your recognition programs.

Is there anything you can do to invite greater participation with your recognition portal? What are some principles you can apply to make your site more engaging? (more…)

How To Improve Your Employees’ Recognition Experience

Many of you have a variety of online recognition programs available to your employees and managers to use.

Employees can usually acknowledge their colleagues or even express appreciation and thanks to a supervisor or manager. Most of the online recognition, award, and reward programs are peer-to-peer, manager to employee, and with formal award programs, the organization to the employee.

Sometimes, we make our recognition programs but they end up being too transactional in nature. When this happens, it can lead to a less than ideal recognition experience for your employees.

What needs to happen is more humanizing of our technological recognition programs.

I am going to give you seven P’s to consider when creating any meaningful and memorable recognition experience with your programs. (more…)

How To Set Up a Points-Based Reward Program

I received this question from a colleague wanting to help a client on how they should set up a points-based reward program.

Some individuals advocate certain ideas as being best practices. Often incentive and reward providers espouse these principles as being absolutely right.

With all this advice out there I will do my best to be objective.  I will provide you with some pros and cons along the way for what you can do. (more…)

How To Recognize Employees Who Don’t Have Computer Access

One of the challenges with recognition providers is that most of their services and offerings are based upon recognition being delivered via online recognition programs.

Recognition vendors often use Software as a Service (SaaS) model delivery. This software distribution model is where a third-party provider hosts an application and makes it available to customers over the Internet.

But what are you supposed to do for employees who have no computer or smartphone access? Maybe they don’t own a smartphone or the nature of their work does not allow them to access work content online.

How do you recognize employees who don’t have computer access to your typical recognition programs? (more…)