How To Use SMS To Remind People To Give Recognition

Do your employees feel valued and appreciated for their work contributions? If not, is it because recognition is not top of mind for your leaders and managers? What if you could remind your leaders and managers to recognize more often? Are there ways that technology can help? 

There is a way to nudge your leaders and managers into giving more frequent and better day-to-day recognition to their direct reports, and others. You can create triggers for your leaders and managers to give more meaningful and consistent recognition to people. This will guarantee affecting the overall employee experience and improve performance, too.  

How do you do this? Listen up!

Text Short Recognition Reminders 

Use short message service, or text messaging, and send recognition reminders to all leaders and managers who have direct reports. You can use these motivational and example-based learning messages at whatever frequency you feel is non-invasive to people throughout their week. 

There are various text messaging software you can purchase like, Call Multiplier, EZTexting, Zingle, Text Magic, and many others, to purchase on a monthly fee basis per number of users. 

You can experiment sending text messages out over a two- or three-month period. You will send micro-targeted messages that are short and sweet, and provide inspiration and educational and action-oriented content. These messages will have the purpose of telling leaders and managers to be more mindful of their people and to express appropriate messages of appreciation and recognition.  

Make Texting Interactive 

Most text messaging service provide polling to gather feedback from message recipients. Other services allow you to attach a PDF document such as a cheat sheet or recognition guide for recipients to receive and review and download as needed. You can also send JPEG files to add some imagery or perhaps a link to an article on your website for further reading and study. 

And you can even send a short audio message from a leader or subject matter expert.

Always Measure Recognition and Performance 

This is where you need to conduct some A/B testing and compare between one group of leaders and managers who receive the text coaching and the other group that does not. 

You can send out simple one-digit response survey questions for “yes” or “no” answers, or show a number on a Likert-scale to respond by. This allows you to gather baseline and post-intervention data from recipients of the text messaging coaching, and employees on their perception of their leader or manager. 

Find out how the leaders and managers felt about getting this intermittent messaging with recognition related content through text method. You must evaluate self-perception and employee feedback on whether any changes occurred with the leader’s/manager’s recognition abilities, positive actions towards employees, and the observed impact on both the recipients of recognition, and the givers of recognition.  

  • Did employees state that they felt better recognized and engaged? 
  • Was there increased frequency of recognition? 
  • How did employees feel about the quality of the recognition they received? 
  • Was there any uplift in key performance indicators? 
  • What overall improvements did they observe?

You can find out if leaders and managers would sign up for additional texting reminders after the trial period you’re testing. From health intervention perspective, text-based interventions revealed that 55 percent of participants said that twice a week was the right amount of messaging to receive.

Benefits of Text Messaging 

Text messaging generates a much faster response rate than emails ever do, and which often go ignored. In fact, research shows that participants open up 98 percent of text messages in intervention cases. The ubiquitous smart phone has its benefits. 

Organizations have used texting for several years as a health promotion tool, providing health and wellness tips and reminders. Research shows that texting interventions are very successful in creating short-term behavioral change. And 89 percent of intervention participants say they benefited from the texting. 

Getting The Recognition Message Out 

Set up a team of professionals familiar with recognition practices and behaviors in your organization. Work together to craft a variety of short and succinct recognition text messages. Anywhere from 6 to 14 people could make a great team to wordsmith your recognition intervention messages.

Have team members take turns on writing text messages according to a rotating calendar schedule of who takes on which month.

I recommend limiting all recognition messages to only 50 words or less, and the shorter the better. All recipients must understand them with no explanation needed. However, you can always provide a short URL link to access further information. Don’t use any abbreviations to eliminate misunderstanding.

From your recognition message writing team, share the responsibility of reviewing all recognition messaging content for clarity, ease of application, and focus on a targeted behavior. 

Of course, you can also use subject matter experts in the field of employee recognition to set up the right kind of messaging to keep recognition practices top of mind.

Rinse and Repeat 

Once you have received the polling data, focus group feedback, analyzed the results, and reviewed recommendations for content changes, you are ready to explore maintaining the text message coaching and starting a fresh round of recognition behavioral content to trigger your leaders and managers to recognize and appreciate your staff every day. 

Recognition Reflection: Would a text messaging service be an option in your organization for reminding leaders and managers to recognize staff more frequently?

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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