One of the common decisions senior leaders make with length of service awards is their perception that they don’t produce any measurable return for the organization, is dropping them completely.
This rationale of career milestone awards not impacting performance numbers and results has been around for many years.
However, there is definitely an impact made when you give these awards. So, what benefits are there from continuing with milestone recognition? Should you keep going with length of service award programs?
Like the fall of the Galactic Empire in the Star Wars saga, sometimes you have to bring your formal award and recognition programs back to the light side. When any of your formal award programs fall apart, you need to step in quickly and turn things right around.
Following are a few ways to consider with preventing the downfall of your formal recognition programs.
Last week, my colleagues at the IMA Summit Awards Event in Snowbird, Utah, honored me by giving me the Recognition Professionals International’s 2022 Harkins Education Award.
The RPI Board of Directors gives this award to recognize members who have provided leadership and commitment to RPI’s education initiatives. The Board Executive Committee nominated and approved this behind my back, as I sit on the board as a director.
Clearly inform leaders, managers, and employees of each program offering in your recognition and reward platform.
Unfortunately, not everyone uses all of your recognition programs well. Communicate and educate about program options and their benefits continually.
Sometimes, there’s a mindset that rewards are recognition. When this happens, people give rewards out too freely when expressions of recognition are better suited. And the inverse is also true. If an employee truly excels and goes above and beyond and merits a reward, they end up receiving recognition instead and might feel deflated and unvalued.
When you are dealing with online recognition and reward programs, you must inform everyone what they have available to them.
If there is one thing anyone managing recognition programs wants the most, it is to have everyone using the online recognition programs they have in place. And yet, it seems most organizations think that as soon as you flip the switch on for recognition programs, they will automatically get used.
Unfortunately, that is never the case.
Look at the following factors and see if there is one or two that might need a tuneup. Once you have these in place, I guarantee you will have stronger and more consistent recognition program participation levels.
One challenge many recognition program owners share in common is helping employees to redeem their points or level-based rewards. Here’s a list of practical ideas for you to try out. Use them to encourage staff and leaders alike to get the full value of the rewards they once-upon-a-time received.
1. Have you asked your employees? Find out from staff why they aren’t redeeming. It may surprise you to learn from their responses. It’s one thing to nominate someone else. But maybe they don’t know how to select something and redeem points they have received.
2. Make sure you are setting clear expectations. Lay out the guidelines for your online recognition and reward programs. Invite people to either redeem rewards right away or to bank their rewards for higher valued items. Identify in your system which option people are choosing to do.
3. Enlist the aid of your senior leaders. Capture a video endorsement of your recognition and reward programs from a senior leader. Have them share their admiration for the great work employees are doing. They can issue a call to action to redeem and use their points.
4. Ensure you have a wide range of preferred items to choose from. They always claim rewards much quicker when they have more to choices to choose from. Giving your staff lots to choose from really helps. Make sure they know what’s available, new options, and send information out regularly.
5. Teach leaders on program usage and redemption. The success of any online recognition and reward program starts at the top. Show your leaders how to give recognition and nominate rewards. Orient them to the rewards catalog and instruct them so they can help staff know how to redeem their rewards.
6. Find out if people know how to redeem their rewards. Ask staff about redeeming rewards from the program. Do they know how to do so? Create video tutorials for independent viewing and use staff meeting opportunities for hands on redemption of points or rewards from the online system.
7. Advertise all the options available to redeem for. Use all the internal communication channels to promote and advertise the various rewards available. Let staff see on LCD screens and on the corporate intranet site when discounted items are available. Use posters and tent cards in the cafeteria and electronic newsletters for virtual staff.
8. Constantly communicate to make staff aware. It is easy to forget when someone has given you a reward over and above the recognition received. Arrange a notification system to give staff a view of their reward balance. Invite employees to redeem their rewards for things that are meaningful to them.
9. Continually measure redemption levels after each intervention. Apply different methods to invite and encourage point redemption and measure the results afterward. You might also consider running an A/B test or conducting split testing by random experimentation of two or more versions of a variable.
10. Work with your department or your vendor’s merchandising group. Review your catalog of rewards regularly. Compare existing popular categories of items. Solicit suggestions from staff each year. Take extra care when refreshing your catalog. Ensure you’re giving everyone access to the best rewards.
Recognition Reflection: What are doing to encourage better reward redemptions by employees?
Everyone wants a positive Return on Investment (ROI) for any new project or program. Employee recognition is no different.
Leaders and program owners alike want to know and compare the monetary benefits from their recognition program. One client recently asked me, what do you consider the estimated return on investment for implementing employee recognition program?
Unfortunately, the quick and easy answer to that broad question is, “that depends.”
But to bring some peace of mind to any of you who might have the same question, I will now give a more detailed answer.