How To Plan for Better Recognition for 2021

If you want people to give better quality recognition and to have people recognized more frequently than they are now, then you had better plan to transform recognition with a carefully thought out plan, now. 

Your engagement surveys, pulse surveys, focus group feedback, and recognition program data will give you both the qualitative and quantitative read on the state of employee recognition in your organization. 

Your job is to work with the leaders and managers in your organization to define and create the future of employee recognition. It’s time to plan out how you will achieve better recognition for 2021 in your organization. 

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The Right Balance of Recognition to Reward Programs

One of the many challenges in managing a recognition and rewards program is figuring out how to steer the course of your programs to maximum impact. 

And one repeated concern I see is when program owners inherit a program, they call recognition, but it’s been almost a total rewards program. Getting rid of the rewards mindset that triggers entitlement, expectations, and “more please”, is hard to unlearn. 

Providers, compensation and benefits associations, and non-profit business research organizations give good estimates on how much money to spend. They draw upon a percentage of your payroll budget or the average dollar spent per full-time equivalent (FTE) of employees. 

But what’s missing is how much to spend on the different programs. Is there a perfect balance between recognition specific programs and reward type program? How do you advocate budgets based on how people use the different types of programs? 

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4 Ways Strategically Designed Recognition Programs Are So Amazing

The recognition and reward industry are a mix of similar goods, technology, and services, in contrast with newer players who tend to provide more of a “plug-and-play” program offering.

Plug-and-play recognition and reward programs tend to focus more on the offering of rewards than they do recognition. And with this software as a service, stand-alone programs, clients typically manage their own programs.

The question you have to ask yourself is whether you want a “quick-and-ready” approach. If you want to lead out with recognition and use rewards wisely you might want to think about creating a strategically designed recognition approach instead.

If you are going to compare you have to compare all the way. Is the vendor simply a provider or are they willing to be a reputable partner dedicated to maximizing the employee experience?

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The Most Important Thing You Need To Make Recognition Happen

Most recognition strategies and plans for recognition depend on moving the bar on whatever metrics you have for program usage and employee perception of recognition. 

The gap analysis of where your recognition status is today and where you want it to be tomorrow relies on the program metrics you have. The challenging part about program usage metrics is that they are all lagging indicator measures.  

Lagging indicators do just that, they lag behind on indicating whether you achieved the results you wanted. By the time you get the output measures on a program, it’s hard to do anything about them that will make a future change.

Is there anything you can really do that can change this? Is there one important thing you can do that will make recognition happen?

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How To Improve Employee Retention Through Recognition

Improving employee retention is a constant concern of leaders and Human Resource professionals.

One of the tools available to leaders to change turnover issues is employee recognition.

Let’s examine how employee recognition can be a gamechanger in turning around your retention issues.

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How To Stay Connected with Your Employees

It’s being expected with more employees working from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic that some folks are losing their usual connection with leaders, managers, and peers.

What can you do to stay better connected with all of your employees? 

Consider these suggestions if you haven’t already done so.

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How To Define Your Purpose for Rewards in Your Programs

When I assist company leaders in creating a recognition strategy, I take them through defining and crafting a purpose statement and philosophy statement as part of their strategy design.

Essentially, I am asking them to answer the question, why are you doing recognition? 

WorldatWork asked the same question and received the following responses. These are the top seven of the 17 choices people had to select from. 

1.    Create/maintain a culture of recognition

2.    Create/maintain a positive work environment

3.    Reinforce desired behaviors

4.    Increase employee engagement

5.    Support organizational mission/values

6.    Motivate high performance

7.    Increase retention or decrease employee turnover 

You can ask the same “why” question about giving rewards, too. Why are you giving rewards if you are combining them in a recognition and rewards program? Not enough people stop to define their reasons or purpose for giving rewards besides recognition. 

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Are You Really Giving People Recognition on Purpose?

Do you know why you recognize people?

If you haven’t thought about why you appreciate and recognize people, take some time out to articulate your beliefs and reasons for recognizing the people you work, play, and live with.

For me it is about appreciating people for who they are, independent of any work they do, and valuing everything that a person brings with them to the workplace. It’s about recognizing people for all that they do—both the insignificant and the amazing things people do. 

Recognition is about valuing people and their contributions. It is the transferring of positive feelings and emotions from one person to another, in response to an employee’s positive behaviors or actions.

What is your purpose for giving recognition?

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How To Leverage Recognition to Promote Diversity and Inclusion

Recognition is probably one of the best strategies you can use to promote diversity and inclusion.

I will explain why and how to leverage recognition to support diversity and inclusion.

Recognition should be a way of life in your organization and not just a programmatic offering. If this is the case where you work, then appreciating people for who they are and recognizing them for what they do will be the great equalizer.

Look at some inherent problems we create for ourselves with recognition that is not diversity minded or inclusive.

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Should Recognition Focus on Your People or the Business?

Managers of organizational recognition practices and recognition programs are often torn between focusing on growth of people or on business results.

You’ll find some organizations create elaborate people strategies to prepare for the growth and development of their employees. Talent management strategies prepare now for the future. And recognition is always a part of the equation, especially when measuring employee engagement.

Then there are others who are strictly business. Their goal is to align recognition and rewards with helping to drive and achieve the strategic initiatives of their business goals.

So, the question is whether, as the owner of recognition in your organization, should you focus on people of the business?

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