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.

1. Purpose: What is your purpose in recognizing this employee?

Become more purposeful and intentional behind the recognition you give to employees with your recognition programs.

When you prepare better, and carefully think about what you are going to say or do to acknowledge people, your recognition will “sound”, “look”, and “feel” more authentic and effective. This will stop you from becoming too routine, quick, and contractual.

You’ll phrase your expressions with greater care. If there are rewards, you will think about the individual’s needs and interests as to what to give.

2. Philosophy: Why do you believe this employee merits being recognized for what they did?

What you believe, and how you value people and their contributions, creates a frame of reference by which you view the world and the actions of people.

Having a mindset where you put people first influences how you observe the great things they do. You’ll be looking for growth and progression in people’s work. It causes you to be more grateful for the little things that go on that should be acknowledged.

This could impact to plan in time to go on your company’s recognition programs on a more regular basis to recognize people.

3. Personalization: How can you make this recognition experience a more personal one for the recipient?

First off, you should know how each of your employees likes to be recognized. Not everyone wants to be in the limelight and be publicly recognized. Use their preferred name if not their legal name on the company records.

Secondly, know each individual’s preferences for how they like to be recognized and rewarded. For some, it will be verbal praise and words or affirmation. Then for others, they want something meaningful to them like time off or a tangible gift item. But that’s not for everyone.

Conduct a recognition preference interview with each staff member and record what you find out.

4. Preferences: Do you give employees a chance to identify their likes, dislikes, wishes, and needs for being recognized?

Design your recognition programs so people can indicate online how they like to be recognized. Perhaps allow them to indicate their interests and personal wishes for how they might redeem non-monetary points. They might identify hobbies and other spare time activities and interests they’re involved in.

They can record work and personal anniversaries. Perhaps they can share projects they are working on or goals they want to achieve. Have them indicate how often they want to be recognized and the types of actions that are meaningful to them.

Start to drill down on the recognition experience by having employees communicate exactly what meaningful recognition looks like to them.

5. Presentation: How do you want employees to feel after they receive the recognition you give them?

You and I know you want each employee to feel respected, valued, and appreciated. While that makes intuitive sense, don’t just rely on your own impressions.

Ask employees directly how they feel when they’ve been recognized effectively as well as when they’ve not been well recognized. Conduct focus groups and build in having some measures you can draw upon. Use surveys to find out the answer – whether career milestone recognition, online social recognition acknowledgment, or an achievement award for some corporate initiative.

When producing scores and percentages on your surveys go one step further. Have respondents answer a question that asks why they gave the satisfaction level they did. Create business rules that provide a different dropdown question for various levels of high, medium, and low responses.

Implications for this are to review survey findings of how employees feel on an emotional and qualitative level and not rely just on numbers.

6. Participation: Have you found a way to involve employees in the whole recognition experience?

Since we’re talking about employee recognition experience, we should design and make our online recognition programs much more interactive so employees can participate in the recognition experience.

Naturally, with social recognition programs, you can like and add comments to the originator’s recognition of an employee. Might I suggest always liking plus making a comment? It is so easy to give a superficial glance and click like. It takes a little more time to add a comment.

7. Perception: Are you willing and transparent enough to ask employees for their perception of the recognition experience?

Remember, that however employees perceive your recognition, it is real to them. You might think you used your program appropriately but if the recognition didn’t connect with the employee they weren’t really recognized.

Let employees give immediate feedback of the recognition received online through randomly assigned surveys using 3 or 4 smileys, or not so smiley, emoticons to click and evaluate.

In your one-on-one meetings ask your employees what are one or two things you are doing well with recognition. Also, ask them for one or two things they wish you would improve with your recognition. Make sure you act upon all suggestions given to you.

If employees are willing to give you their feedback, you must be prepared to make changes for creating a positive recognition experience.

Recognition Reflection: Think of the most memorable recognition experience you’ve had in your career. What elements of that recognition experience can you replicate for your employees?

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