Here’s How To Evolve Your Recognition Programs

Recognition is a relatively new experience in the workplace and especially using technology driven recognition programs. Rewards were always recognition’s historical predecessor.

The question then is how do you evolve your current recognition programs to be ready for the ongoing future developments of the future?

As you look at the past, awards and rewards, especially using money to reward employees—were viewed as the only potential motivator to increase performance results.

The attitude was if you want employees to work more and better, then you had to pay them with monetary rewards when they performed at the desired level. Rewards were totally a top-down approach from managers to employees because the whole purpose was business focused. Manager’s focus was on paying or rewarding employees for higher performance and then the company will get better business results and improved profits.

In some organizations today, there is still a perception that rewards are so much easier to give than to be bothered with the extra care and effort required to recognize someone.

A reward in isolation of employee recognition, especially monetary rewards, only serves to create an entitlement mentality that relies solely on extrinsic motivation.

Is your organization fixated by rewards and just transacting with employees?

Nowadays, rewards are more often tangible and experiential items and not just money. Employers and manager still give rewards to employees in return for reaching pre-set goals, a significant achievement, or service performed.

What’s different today is that rewards delivered via online programs have more opportunities to accompany the reward with messages of recognition. This helps to make the rewards more meaningful with employees.

Recognition is mostly an intangible expression of acknowledgement and valuing of an individual for their positive behaviours, their personal effort, or contributions they have made. Recognition is the transfer of positive feelings and emotions from one person to another. You might have positively reacted to the actions or positive behaviors of an employee and feel to share your pride and amazement with them. Recognition is the conveying of your feelings to the other person. 

These positive expressions and actions transmit feelings to other people. This helps validate the worth of an employee and confirms approval of the positive work they are doing. Acknowledging a person for who they are and what they do is a people focused purpose versus a business focus. When people are treated fairly, and respected and valued, they are naturally engaged and enhanced performance outcomes are a by-product of treating employees respectfully as human beings.

Q: Is your online delivered recognition transforming the positive relationships between people?

Who Drives Recognition Program Usage?

The evolution of employee recognition is that it’s moving away from just being a top-down, manager to employee driven, reward or recognition experience.

Vendors see this with the ever-increasing demand from organizations for peer-to-peer recognition programs. Over fifty percent of organizations having a peer-to-peer or social recognition program in place. Online recognition is no longer a manager driven tool but is becoming increasingly employee driven.

Another driver of the changing ownership of employee recognition programs is the increasing mobile accessibility of online programs. Smartphones and tablet devices are putting recognition programs literally into employees’ hands.

Q: Is the recognition program technology you have spreading recognition ownership to everyone?

Initiation of Recognition Programs

Recognition always starts when one person observes another person doing good work or seeing someone carrying out a positive behavior that stood out for them.

It would appear that human beings, versus programs, are the starters of giving recognition. This also means these same people can also forget to give recognition. Giving recognition is remembered and initiated more when people have a meaningful, personal purpose of valuing people they work with, and valuing their contributions. 

Emerging and future programs will still enjoy human initiated activity in expressing recognition online. However, with technology advancing as it is, you will have prescriptive analytics and artificial intelligence helping to cue you if you have not recognized certain people recently. Or, it will flag you through chatbot technology, of an individual in your circle of influence who was acknowledged by another employee who you might send some recognition to.  

Managers and employees can give more meaningful recognition to peers and staff if the employees allow their recognition preferences and personal profile to be shared online with their immediate coworkers, or organizational-wide. 

Q: Is your recognition program technology helping to recommend and remind you who needs recognition and how to personalize the recognition?

Changing Delivery for Expressing Recognition 

For several years now, most recognition programs have delivered recognition messages via text-based content. Programs have relied on written messages in eCards, text comments on newsfeed of social recognition programs, or printed expressions of acknowledgment on certificates or accompanying the sending of monetary or nonmonetary rewards.

But personal communication of recognition all began with face-to-face interaction between one person and another. That’s what happened before we accepted text-based recognition from online programs. However, with the advancing acceptance of video on social media, recognition programs can now allow any employee to send a recognition message via captured video recording through the program. This is helping to humanize the experience of recognition through program technology.

Where is your current recognition program technology with assisting you to give more meaningful and effective recognition to employees?

Recognition Reflection: What other element of technology could you see benefiting online recognition programs?

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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