How To Get More People Using Your Recognition Programs More Often

Like any tool, recognition programs are only as good as the people that use them. 

And therein lies the problem. It isn’t the programs per se, it’s the people. That’s why it is essential that you create a people strategy to use your programs better, besides having a recognition program strategy. 

Look at the following areas of direction you may need to take.

Organizational Driven Direction

You and the leaders in your organization must develop an organization-wide approach to reinforcing leaders and employees in properly using your recognition programs. 

Some of these approaches will have a marketing feel to them. Recognition programs provide data that allows for segmentation of who are super users, regular users, and non- or infrequent users. You can use category types of recognition givers and then invite them to receive communications and notification specific to their type. You can then send them personalized reminders to use the programs better and more frequently according to their frequency of usage. 

You should enlist learning and development to produce targeted video-tutorials to provide instruction. They can also help with other microlearning tools such as job aids. These can address specific solicited and prioritized concerns identified by users. 

Set up scheduled staff meeting reviews with all departments to look at the usage of just one of your programs once a quarter. Find out why they are successful or not and ask what is holding people back from typical usage patterns found elsewhere. Or invite them to share exemplary practices with other departments. 

All leaders must expect more frequent usage of recognition programs. Leaders will hold managers accountable and positively reinforce outstanding program users. Recognition giving and use of recognition programs must become a part of all of your performance management methods. 

Leader Focused Direction 

Leaders and managers cannot be everywhere to observe outstanding performance from employees. Get them to work with their assistants and direct reports to request input on exceptional employees and their positive actions. 

Armed with this information, leaders and managers can use social recognition programs to acknowledge amazing employees. There should be an expectation for leaders and managers to recognize people for positive behaviors and reward individuals who go above and beyond with performance results. They should be proficient in giving award and rewarding people accompanied by well-expressed recognition. 

Leaders and managers can be mindful to pass along feedback through other employees to give second-hand compliments about their peers. This helps spread positivity throughout a department and encourages staff to give recognition passed on by their leader. 

Remove the silence that can happen in staff meetings when you ask for any recognition comments to be shared. Instead, have specific questions ready to prime the pump and invite recognition rather than going to the next item on the meeting agenda, like: Who really helped you out the most yesterday? Does someone have an example of a colleague who has shown showed compassion to others? What example of amazing customer service have you recently witnessed? 

Individual Owned Direction 

As in all solutions to improve things at work, it comes done to us. How can you do a better job with recognizing staff? What’s one thing you can do one percent better with using your recognition programs? 

Tally how many times in a week you actually go on to your organization’s recognition programs. What triggers you to go onto the recognition programs? Is it when you see or hear about positive behaviors of colleagues? Which brings up another question, how often do you hear of the amazing actions of your leaders and peers? 

Actively round up good news going on within the organization and specifically acknowledge peers, whether online or in person. Start making reach out calls to learn what people are working on right now. Learn what they are excited about working on. You’re bound to hear about great things going on that merit recognition. Some of this recognition you’ll give immediately. Other times, you might feel to make recognition more public, if preferred by the intended recipient, to make it visible to others. 

Consider taking this organizational, leadership, and individual ownership approach to improving recognition program participation.

Recognition Reflection: What steps do you take to improve recognition program usage?

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.

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