Right Words of Recognition for Years of Service

What do you say to a person who reaches a specific milestone level in their years of service with the company?

This is something that is very important but frequently overlooked.

Over the years I have seen different milestones of recognition celebrated at many years of service award events.

Too often the years of service recognition is relegated to an online or manual process that makes things happen.

But planning the right words of acknowledgment to use isn’t always in the mix.

There should be thought put into the right words of recognition to use that accompany the event, the one on one encounter between a manager and employee, or the gift given to the employee.

I will give you some guidelines to consider for the right words of recognition. (more…)

Recognition Cannot Solve All the Problems in the World

Sometimes, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that because employee recognition programs and practices are such great things to instil properly in the workplace, they can solve all ills, HR woes and people problems.

Unfortunately, practicing positive recognition in the workplace and using recognition programs better and more effectively, will not solve world hunger, stop wars or bring peace and unity to the world.

That’s why I get concerned when I hear people say things like recognition can help your organization reduce absenteeism.

Recognition is typically an intangible expression of acknowledgement and valuing of an individual or team.

What you can recognize are people’s positive behaviours, their personal effort towards something or great contributions they have made.

You don’t recognize people’s genuine or chosen problems.

Here are some examples of what employee recognition cannot do. (more…)

ROI to the Power of 3 on Employee Recognition

If you’ve been running recognition programs and initiatives for a while, you have likely encountered the inquisitive, cynical, or perhaps challenging leader who throws down the ROI gauntlet for you to “prove” recognition is contributing to the bottom line.

My recommendation is to be careful about jumping too quickly or focusing solely on the money-sided ROI. Make sure you examine both below and above the bottom line to more easily convert recognition into an investment versus an expense.

Yes, there is a lot more to ROI than meets the eye, which is why we will examine ROI to the power of three. It’s much more than being financial.

You need to look at other returns that can come from recognition. (more…)

Quick Solutions For Dealing With Recognition Program Problems

On Tuesday I presented a session at the Recognition Professionals International conference in hot and humid Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

My session was on dealing with How To Make Positive Changes To Your Recognition Programs.

At the start of the session I asked the practitioner and provider attendees a question. The question was, “what are the biggest challenges or problems you struggle with for any of your employee recognition programs?”

Here’s what the recognition professionals gave me, which were written up on a flip chart:

  • Consistency
  • Out-dated
  • Unaware
  • Push back from leadership
  • Misinformation
  • Management buy-in
  • Measuring ROI

The rest of the session I focused on providing people with the process and tools for making improvements in a systematic way rather than just waiting for things to break, so to speak.

Quick Solutions to Problems

To specifically help those who attended my session and to assist all of my readers, I am including a few links to past posts to address some of these challenges.

1. Consistency: My suggestion on getting more consistent with using your recognition programs and practicing better recognition giving read Recognition Programs Aren’t A Problem…People Are! And if your leaders are not exemplary givers of recognition or using your programs consider Are You Helping Your Leaders to Give Recognition?

2. Out-dated: I told the seminar participants that I go out on a date every week with my wife, Irene. In fact we are going to see a children’s performance tonight of “The Wizard of Oz”. But on a serious vein, with recognition programs they do need to be kept revitalized. Try out this post for some ideas 7 Deadly Warning Signs Your Recognition Program Is Failing.

3. Unaware: I won’t pretend I’ve written on every subject related to recognition. This is probably one of them. That’s why I love it when you send in your challenges and ideas. They often become posts. My best stab at this is to suggest you read When Recognition Doesn’t Work and perhaps even 7 Simple Hacks to a Great Communications Plan to stimulate your thinking.

4. Leader Push Back and Buy-In: I combined these two because I think they are related. Leaders are not expected to know everything about employee recognition. That’s your job. So educate them and keep them informed like this Communicating with Leaders Using the “CNN Effect”. Furthermore, I taught those in my seminar that you don’t want leaders’ buy-in. Buy-in is so monetary focused and transaction. What you really need is their personal commitment and you can discover more here How To Win a Leader’s Commitment and Buy-In for Recognition.

5. Misinformation: Nada! I will have to think on this and get back to everyone on it.

6. Measuring ROI: Hmm! I realize I have not written a blog post on this topic specifically. But to help you along, here’s a related post on Understanding the Business Case for Recognition. I am not going to leave you high and dry though! If you don’t mind leaving this page and going to Incentive Magazine, here’s my Top 10 Tips for Solid Recognition ROI. Hope you enjoy it!

Once you’ve wrapped your head around a few of these topic areas please let me know what other questions still remain for you.

Question: Where do you go to learn more about employee recognition practices and programs?

How To Increase Employee Recognition Program Participation

You have this great, well branded, recognition portal.

It includes a well-designed social recognition platform for all of your employees to use. You’re hoping this will encourage more peer-to-peer appreciation.

You also have a behavioral, performance-focused program where employees can nominate someone for an award for demonstrating your corporate values. Leaders and managers can use the same program to issue points to employees for achieving strategic goals as well as exemplifying the living of the values.

But what if your employees and managers just aren’t into using these programs very well or as frequently as you had imagined.

What can you do to engage your people and ramp up the participation levels of your recognition programs? (more…)

Understanding How To Use Your Social Recognition Program

Whenever you see something great happening on the job, besides thanking them directly face-to-face, you can also use a social recognition program to instantly acknowledge your staff online.

Social recognition programs are another tool in your toolbox to better practice giving recognition to your peers and employees. And they help spread the good news of all worthwhile actions happening to others in the workplace because everyone can use it.

Our social recognition program is a great way to acknowledge your staff whenever you see something great happening or when someone reports outstanding performance of a colleague or direct report.

Over 40 percent of companies now have social recognition programs in place. If you don’t currently have a social recognition program you need to get excited about them and become a leading company.

Here are some key points to effectively using our social recognition program: (more…)

And The Winner Is…Handling Award Mistakes With Grace

For a long time I’ve shared the Oscars award process with people for different examples of how people might look at their own formal, best-of-the-best, award programs.

After 89 years of increasingly lengthy, and sometimes boring awards events, the Oscar bubble of perfection was finally burst last nights with a big snafu. It became apparent when Warren Beatty read the wrong Best Picture winner as ‘La La Land’ when in reality the movie ‘Moonlight’ won.

Yet, the Oscar Awards Ceremony still stands as an example of how you can handle mistakes even at a major awards event like the Oscars.

Let’s examine the mistakes more closely, look at how everyone handled the situation, and see what lessons we can all learn from this Oscar-level error. (more…)

Two Amazing Ways To Recognize High Performers

Okay. Let’s be real candid here.

Most of your recognition programs will not cut it with your high performers, your senior leaders, your top sales people or other high-ranking professionals.

Giving points, sending nominations, or even giving them a $25 to $100 gift award won’t do it, thank you!

Never pretend your traditional recognition and reward programs appreciated by the 80% majority of your employees are going to appeal to a private banker, the top pharmaceutical salesperson, or the executive vice president of finance.

There are some ways to recognize them though. And I am going to share two amazing ways with you on how to recognize these high performers. (more…)

Incentive Research Foundation Releases 2017 Trends Study

Washington, DC (January 20, 2017): The Incentive Research Foundation is pleased to announce the release of its highly-anticipated 2017 Trends Study. The study highlights ten key trends that will affect organizations, their products and services, and the workforce in 2017. From growth areas to consolidation to globalization, the study identifies key areas of change and their implications for workforce engagement, incentive travel and recognition.

“At a time when the pace of economic change continues to accelerate, the IRF is tracking some essential shifts in the industry,” said IRF President Melissa Van Dyke. “The 2017 Trends Study also provides actionable suggestions so that business can leverage these trends to gain a competitive edge in a rapidly changing business landscape.”

The Top Ten Trends for Incentive Travel, Reward and Recognition Programs in 2017 are:

  1. The Increasing Demand for Non-Cash Rewards and Recognition
    The number of U.S. businesses using non-cash rewards has risen from 26% in 1996 to 84% in 2016.
  2. Mastering the Changing and Challenging Regulatory Environment
    Almost 60% of respondents in the latest IRF Pulse Study said they agree or strongly agree that government regulations are making it more difficult to design reward and recognition programs.
  3. Incentive Travel Market: Growth and Challenges
    Nearly 40% of U.S. businesses now use incentive travel to reward and recognize their top performing employees, salespeople, and channel partners.
  4. Merchandise and Gift Card Expansion
    Merchandise and gift card programs continue to expand in the United States with 60% and 70%, respectively, of all U.S. businesses using these reward types.
  5. Shifts in Safety Perceptions and More Frequent Disruptions
    Zika. Terrorism. Hurricanes. Almost 60% of planners have experienced some form of disruption in their events, estimating that almost a quarter of their events have been affected in some way.
  6. The Emerging “Next Level” of Experience: Individualized Experiences and the Importance of Emotion
    Tapping emotional engagement through a strategic choice of rewards and incentives is a powerful way for businesses to motivate their stakeholders.
  7. Technology Changes
    Almost 90% of large businesses report having technology in place to support their incentives and reward programs.  Technology trends include a drive toward social, wearable, predictive and view-altering technologies.
  8. The Evolving Design of Reward and Recognition Programs
    The Incentive Federation measures over 12 different reasons organizations are running employee reward and recognition programs and nine different objectives for sales programs.
  9. Industry Consolidation
    The incentives and rewards industry continues to consolidate, not only on the supplier side but also among incentive houses and meeting service providers.
  10. Globalization
    Once thought of as only affecting the incentive travel side of the market, globalization now influences all types of reward and recognition programs—merchandise and gift cards included.

5 Ways to Maximize the Power of Symbols With Recognition

Symbols are powerful tools that have been used as a form of human language since the beginning of time.

Today, symbols in the workplace are best represented in brand and culture.

You can apply symbols to employee recognition practices and programs as well and draw upon their amazing emotional power.

Consider these 5 ways to maximize the power of your company symbols of recognition. (more…)