3 Ways To Select The Best Recognition Program For You

Your company has grown from the small business it once was to the medium size enterprise you have become.

You even conducted an employee engagement survey this year. That’s when you discovered employees are not feeling valued for the great work they do.

Maybe it is time to invest in recognition programs. This is not your expertise and you want to do what is best for the company and for your employees.

Where do you begin in identifying what the best recognition program is for your company?

Most Common Recognition Insights

Nearly 90 percent of organizations have at least one recognition program or another operating in their companies whether manually administered or through vendor driven online programs.

World at Work’s survey on 2015 Trends in Employee Recognition found the top five company recognition programs as being:

  1. Length of service (87 percent)
  2. Above-and-beyond performance (76 percent)
  3. Programs to motivate specific behavior (51 percent)
  4. Peer-to-peer (48 percent)
  5. Retirement (34 percent)

The organizations surveyed for these results also reported their top 5 goals for their recognition programs, namely:

  1. Recognize years of service.
  2. Create/ maintain a positive work environment
  3. Create/ maintain a culture of recognition.
  4. Motivate high performance.
  5. Reinforce desired behaviors.

#1. Selection Criteria – Purpose: Determine the specific reasons why you and others feel a recognition program is needed at this time.

Many companies and their people leaders highlight the need for a recognition program when some aspect of recognition giving takes too much time and effort.

I have seen organizations request a way to submit their annual excellence award nominations online to more easily administer and evaluate the submissions.

Another company knows their managers have less interaction with employees due to location and remoteness of employees. A peer-to-peer social recognition program seems like the best idea for those closest to the work to recognize each other.

Or maybe leaders want to raise the bar on performance. A recognition program can help zero in on productivity or other measures and allow giving behavior specific nominations, which lead to possibly receiving incentives or awards.

#2. Selection Criteria – Strategy: Identify the most important goal you want to achieve with your recognition program and spell out exactly what you want it to do for you.

Leaders can be shown a gap analysis of where their company’s strengths and weaknesses are with giving meaningful and effective recognition from surveys, manager interviews and even employee focus groups.

Maybe there is too much emphasis on receiving rewards and people are just not feeling appreciated for what they are doing. Making sense of the differences between rewards and recognition can have a big effect on program design.

Recognition program data allows you to know who is recognizing employees and who is not. Usage reports will be essential to target how people are using the program. They can also assist you with recommending where education and performance development might be needed.

You want recognition to happen yet you need to prove the return on investment after you have introduced a program. Metrics and tracking of usage aligned with your goal performance measures will make this far easier with an online program.

#3. Selection Criteria – Ease of Use: Ensure the recognition program is easy to administer, accessible by all managers and employees, and has easy-to-use features, like reporting, to measure achievement of your goals.

External vendors should be able to make this easy for you to achieve.

A positive user experience of recognition programs is critical for program administrators as well as for the end users of the programs.

Sending a nomination or an eCard, or posting a recognition message should be intuitively easy to do on any platform. Recognition programs should be accessible on desktop and laptop computers, or any other electronic device and smartphone.

Ensure recognition programs have video and online tutorials to demonstrate ease of use. Have all the possible “frequently asked questions” addressed in a simple manner with further links to additional resources.

Recognition programs should not be seen as a new toy.

Recognition programs will be a powerful tool for you when used properly.

Just like day-to-day, interpersonal recognition practices are driven by your culture, so are your recognition programs.

And your recognition programs will more easily allow you to reinforce your culture and better align with achieving your strategic business plans.

Choose your recognition programs with care. They will elevate performance, morale and the wellbeing of your people.

Question: Which criteria have you used to select the recognition programs right for your company?

Roy is no longer writing new content for this site (he has retired!), but you can subscribe to Engage2Excel’s blog as Engage2Excel will be taking Roy’s place writing about similar topics on employee recognition and retention, leadership and strategy.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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