How To Set Your New Year Goals for Employee Recognition

You are probably in the midst of creating your goals and plans for your recognition programs and practices for next year.

Likely, you will need to submit your goals and plan to a senior leader you report to for endorsement before ploughing ahead.

Make sure you include the following suggestions as you strategize your recognition plans.

1. Establish an overall one-year goal. What is the one major thing you want to achieve by the end of next year? How will your recognition programs be better by this time next year? What would you like to see happen?

Hopefully your regular reviews throughout this past year have helped you see where your strengths and weaknesses are with recognition practices and programs. Knowing these you can identify specific areas for building up and those areas needing to be improved.

2. Identify no more than 5 to 7 Focus Points. Choose areas that best help achieve your one-year goal. You can’t improve everything. What are the 5 to 7 (no more than) essential pain points or opportunities to grow from? Which points of focus will make the biggest impact on engagement and performance? Where are people saying recognition is floundering right now?

These areas might address your programs or they could look at areas like communication and education. You might want to help reinforce recognition practices or how to get managers and employees to be more effective with using your recognition programs.

3. Develop some implementation objectives. With your focus points identified now set some objectives for how you can improve and implement appropriate actions. What tools and tactics need to be developed? Is there specific content that should be created? Where do our recognition programs succeed or fail right now? How can we put these ideas and strategies into practice?

Create implementation objectives for each of the focus points you have chosen. This will allow you or a specific project team to know the defined mandate and what must be done.

4. Define the outputs or outcome measures. How will you know you’ve achieved your goal? What will your outputs consist of? What metrics will be required? Are these leading or lagging indicators?

Each implementation objective must have a target measure that becomes your yardstick to know how you’re doing. Others involved on a focus point will have a clearer understanding of what is expected of them.

5. Share with aligned people only. Not everyone gets excited about employee recognition. Share your goals and plans only with supportive recognition leaders and ambassadors. Hopefully you have an executive sponsor who is committed to spearheading recognition strategically throughout the organization.

You need allies and advocates to propel the recognition cause along in your organization. The naysayers are often that – all talk. However, it is good to collaborate with people who have your interest at heart yet can give solid constructive feedback to ensure you create the best programs and services.

6. Stand by your non-negotiables. Determine what you are not willing to give up on. Where have serious investments already been made with recognition? What aspects of your recognition programs should not change? How much time, energy and resources can you personally give to this? What are you not willing to negotiate on?

Spell out the things you’re not giving up on if you have to. Otherwise, use your non-negotiables as the lens by which the document is written and viewed by.

7. Develop 90-day action plans. I am a big believer in 90-day action plans that create time-based markers throughout the year to gauge how you are doing. These plans allow you to work on one element over a quarter and set monthly targets to work on. You can learn more about 90-day project plans here.

As a sole recognition owner these 90-day action plans will be based on one focus area at a time. Where you have access to expertise throughout the organization you can organize project teams to tackle each of the focus points.

8. Set reminders for action. Cue up what you want to achieve at specific time frames for each 90-day tactical action. Input appointment reminders and slot in time when you’ll work on the various steps and strategies required to complete each goal.

If you need personal reminders to work on certain targets or new habits, you can use a smartphone app like Habit Bull to measure and remind yourself of your progress.

9. Track and report progress. Build in progress checks to know how things are going with your recognition plan and achieving your goals. Draft up a spreadsheet if need to or use tracking tools like Trello or Asana to keep you and team members on target.

Identify the recognition sponsor or who within the organization you will report to about achieving the milestones of recognition plan and goals. Progress reports speeds up the rate of improvement, so build them in.

10. Regular reviews and accountability. Without accountability nothing changes. It could be to an HR manager or human resources team or a senior executive who gets it as far as recognition is concerned.

Ideally a monthly update is good to keep recognition top of mind. Teams can submit a short monthly email that you can compile into a summary report. A quarterly review meeting is a must and allows you and project teams, if available, to sit down with your executive sponsor. You can give a reporting, hear changes in company direction, and provide input for consideration for the next 90-day action plans.

Planning recognition goals is a big responsibility. Developing recognition plans to see the fulfillment of these goals is a noble cause.

Good luck with all you’re doing!

Question: What aspect of goal setting for employee recognition plans gives you the biggest headache?

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