There will always be horror stories around recognition programs if you don’t start off on the right foot.
And the irony of it all is the challenges most often come with the misnomer of calling these problematic programs “recognition programs”. Problems with errant programs usually lies when using rewards, be they tangible merchandise, cash, or near cash rewards.
So, get recognition programs right so there is equity and fairness with non-monetary and intangible recognition and tangible and monetary rewards accompanying these recognition programs.
There is also a need for authenticity and inclusiveness with the expressions of recognition given to people through your programs, whether this is by text, spoken word, or video. Recognition must be genuine and sincere in both intent and how it is communicated to a person. We should give regard to all employees who contribute day in and day out and not focus solely on the rising stars whose performance always exceeds the standards of most employees.
Recognition is for everyone.
You must make sure you get your recognition programs right.
Most organizations have a formal award programs that are their pinnacle of excellence for all their employees to aspire to.
You might have these kinds of formal programs where you work, too. They’re often called by a prestigious leadership position the company wants to associate with the award. You’ll hear awards named the President’s Award, Chairman’s or CEO’s Award. Or they may go for a more branded name appeal such as Bravo Award, Excellence Award, or Pinnacle Award.
Both position title or brand named awards, are usually appended with various award categories the company wants people to focus on. They attach qualities or values like Leadership, Innovation, Customer Service, or Citizenship, etc. to the award name.
But for all the time, effort, and energy put into these formal award programs you are likely only awarding around 1% to 2% of your employee base. In larger organizations this percentage is even less.
What can you do to elevate the quality of your existing formal award programs?
Some organizations will go all out. They’ll have their senior leaders serve up a pancake and sausage breakfast or other preferred food items. Perhaps the cafeteria has free items to offer employees that day which are paid for by the company. Others will encourage managers and supervisors to be vigilant in taking time out for coffee, doughnuts, and treats. Or perhaps everyone chips in to a potluck to share or brings a side dish for a company/department barbecue.
The first Friday of March is upon us. This Friday is considered one of those nationally declared calendar event days called National Employee Appreciation Day. It is not a day off work but one to remember the importance of appreciating employees and recognizing them for what they do.
What will you do in your organization for National Employee Appreciation Day?
Each organization, large or small, should have a written recognition strategy to position recognition at the forefront in their organization.
Michael Porter, in his classic Harvard Business Review article, “What Is Strategy?” states that “strategic positioning attempts to achieve sustainable competitive advantage by preserving what is distinctive about a company. It means performing different activities from rivals or performing similar activities in different ways.”
Naturally, Porter is speaking about a traditional business strategy and not about a recognition strategy.
But what can you learn from the wisdom of Michael Porter? Are there principles you can apply to crafting a recognition strategy? Let’s look carefully at his work. (more…)
Typical steps for creating a business strategy require senior leadership team involvement, analysis of previous financial and operational goals and outcomes, and direction as far as the future state of where the company should be heading.
Having a written recognition strategy puts recognition practices and programs on the same level as a corporate business strategy.
But what if you don’t have the luxury to get senior leaders and a sampling of departmental or business unit leaders in the same room? If you can’t facilitate and collaborate with others to create a recognition strategy document, what should you do?
I will show you how to create a quick and easy recognition strategy with a basic structure and outline, along with some questions to ask yourself as a guide. Are you ready? (more…)
We should all know what employee recognition is but what exactly is positive psychological functioning? How can recognition help promote a psychologically healthy workplace?
Positive psychological functioning is all about having available the right resources and supports needed for employees to function properly in the workplace. You can also call this psychological health and safety.
The American Psychological Association suggests the main characteristics of organizations that promote employee health and well-being are: employee involvement, work-life balance, employee growth and development, health and safety, and employee recognition.
The European Institute of “Great Place to Work” has analyzed the characteristics of best workplaces and found them to be places that care about relationships based on: pride (you feel proud of the company you work for and of your job within it), camaraderie (enjoying the people you work with), and trust (which includes: fairness, credibility, and respect).
So, how does recognition impact this whole construct of positive psychological functioning? (more…)
Michael Porter, the well-known strategist, and professor at Harvard Business School states, “the essence of strategy is in the activities–choosing to perform activities differently or to perform different activities than rivals.”
As I think on the final output generated from the process I used to help company leaders create their own written recognition strategies, each one is unique to their particular company. They have their crafted version of a recognition purpose and philosophy statement. Every company has a different overriding short-term goal. Their focus points reflect the needs and gaps for their organization. And the plans developed provide concrete goals and actions that will lead to better and more effective employee recognition for their company.
Porter also said, “The more benchmarking companies do, the more they look alike.”
Therein lies the dilemma for many companies. So often they want to know everything about what other companies are doing for employee recognition best practices and programs. Essentially, they want to duplicate what successful companies are doing and implement their ideas right away.
I will draw upon the thinking of INSEAD professors W. Chan Kim and RenéeMauborgne, who specialize in strategy and, specifically, Blue Ocean Strategy, to put a different spin on developing a recognition strategy. (more…)
It piqued my interest because it was a field study and not one of those in the university lab experiments. The setting was selling rugs in retail stores and incentivizing sales people with either cash or tangible rewards (gift cards from a choice of vendors) for achieving high-performance results over two consecutive sales campaigns, each of three months in length. The study was conducted in a Canadian retail store chain. The Incentive Research Federation has shown that companies are relying more heavily on tangible rewards these days over cash, as a reward vehicle with their various incentive and reward campaigns.
Does one work better than another? That is the question I was curious about. (more…)
Whenever leaders and owners of organizational recognition programs think about creating a recognition strategy they tend to think solely on their programs. However, for your recognition programs to be most effective, you need to focus first on getting recognition practices right.
Why should you strategize your recognition practices first and not your programs? How does this approach benefit your recognition programs? What are the short-term and long-term outcomes by taking this route?
Let’s take a look at recognition practices more closely and I will answer these questions and give my rationale for going in this direction. (more…)