Let Your Recognition Programs Tell You Everything You Need to Know

Online recognition programs are websites acting as a central platform for a variety of recognition and reward programs. They allow everyone in an organization to express their appreciation, say thanks to folks, and give recognition for the great things people do at work every day. 

Those with permission can also give people rewards, whether tangible, monetary, or experiential. You give rewards to people for going above and beyond normal work expectations and when excellent performance occurs. 

What can your recognition programs tell you that you’re not tapping into? 

Let’s inspect the different measurements available to you within online recognition. And we can explore how they this metrics can tell you everything you need to know.

Employee Participation In Using Your Programs.

There are so many types of pure recognition programs used to acknowledge, thank, and recognize everyone you work with.

You can send ecards for different themed purposes. Ecards can celebrate a major achievement or a career milestone anniversary. Perhaps you just want to thank someone who gave a helping hand on a job task. And then there are the wonderful ecards to acknowledge personal life events such as births, marriages, as well as caring concern for sadder occurrences.

You may have a social recognition program that allows you to leave comments in the social recognition newsfeed. You can add a star or like people’s comments. 

Some programs give you the chance for quick recognition messages using a social badge or graphic icon. The social badges might represent your organizational values. You can send people a badge with a comment to commend them for living your values.

Dig deeper and explore these numbers beyond their face value.

Typically, you get reports for the total number of ecards sent and received. Number of newsfeed messages sent and liked. And the number of social badges given. 

  • Text mining algorithms can tell you what people were recognized for. This might give some sign of what is being worked on and where people’s observations are focused. 
  • While you’re at it with the text mining, you can find out the sentiment and feelings people have about your organization.
  • Look at the number of ecards and social badges given associated with your values. What if some of your values receive nada or zero usage? This may point to a need for HR or communications to find out information and promote better living of specific values. 
  • Which people and from which departments are giving the most recognition messages? Investigate what makes these leaders shine and why some departments get it versus those that don’t. Might be time to do some video interviews to discover personal best practices and share with everyone to learn from. 

Number of Individuals Recognized. 

A typical metric is how many individuals people have recognized or rewarded from your various programs. 

However, how many were unique recognition experiences versus a group recognition from one manager? Did they receive rewards for completing a team project or have they exceeded performance expectations on their own?

You might know how many individuals people have recognized. But do you know the reasons why? Is the sender of recognition an exceptional leader, a new leader, or an emerging leader? Could they benefit from some leadership development if they’ve not already done so? 

What about the inverse of this metric—the number of employees who have not been recognized? Do you know who they are, where they work, and why their immediate supervisor or manager has not recognized them recently? Are there performance issues on the employee side? Or is it a case of their leader needing education and training on recognition skills and how to use the programs properly?

Suggestion for consideration:

  • Set expectations for what you expect from leaders in using your recognition programs.
  • Have your leaders primed to become exemplary recognition givers and program users.
  • Communicate out to leaders and employees alike the need to express recognition and send recognition messages to employees who merit it.
  • Give feedback and accountability reports on how leaders are doing with recognition.
  • Seek guidance from all employees on where they need help with giving recognition or suggestions for program improvement.
  • Provide essential resources, how-to articles, guides, video tutorials, job aids and other tools to help people.
  • Draw on courses, video-learning, and programs to educate people on why recognition is important, and how to do recognition the right way. 

Results That Lead to Rewarding People. 

When people do amazing work well you should know the behaviors you want to recognize. I remind people that you must tell the fantastic employees you have specifically what is they did that got you excited. Then you must tell them specifically how their actions made a difference to others—you, a peer, a customer, or the company they work for. You can never give too much specific recognition. 

As for rewards, you should have criteria-based levels of rewards to help you know what to give for various exceptional performance results. That way you reinforce fairness and equity. 

For example, set up criteria that might answer some of the following questions: 

  • Was this performance a single occurrence or have these results happened repeatedly? A single occurrence would get a lower valued reward than repeated events.
  • What was the level of impact of the exceptional action? Did their performance impact one or two people, their department, customers, or the company? The level of impact will determine the reward value.
  • What was the degree of effort or difficulty required to achieve the results? Was this an easy thing or a hard thing for them to do? Was this a quick task? Did this occur over a period of time requiring dedicated focus? All these elements will vary the reward amount given. 

Consider what you can learn from the data obtained by adhering to these criteria. 

Check the Impact of Your Programs 

Looking at usage statistics alone only tells you the participation numbers. 

To get more insights on the benefits of your recognition and reward programs, you must build in business impact indicators and calculate the Return on Investment. 

For example, what is a specific pain point or strategic goal you want to see improve through using your recognition and/or reward programs? Is it improved retention? Better employee engagement levels? Additional levels of productivity measures? 

Collect all the metrics you need to show the current state before and after the program is implemented. Work with your finance team to see what numbers can be monetized. Not all numbers can. But at least you can move the metrics in the desired direction.

Test out the benefits of your recognition and reward programs with one grouping of people against a control group where they don’t use the programs. This becomes your comparison to find a correlation.

Allow a reasonable time of at least 3- to 6-months to compare results against baseline information. 

Now calculate the ROI math to find out the benefits. 

  • We could project that using your recognition programs properly could affect employee retention by a 20 percent improvement.
  • When recognition frequency and quality is high, you’ll find that employee engagement is high, and your turnover is low.
  • Consider the scenario where you have 5,000 employees and you have an annual turnover of about 10 percent. This means you typically lose 500 employees annually.
  • We’ll pretend the average salary of all employees is $50,000. Turnover costs, including recruitment, orientation, and training, is estimated at 20 percent of salary costs, or $10,000. Multiply that by 500 people who left, and you have total turnover costs of $5,000,000!
  • If you use your recognition and reward programs wisely and well, there could be a 20 percent improvement in retention. This would reduce turnover rates to 8 percent and save the organization $1,000,000, less the costs of operating the recognition program.

Now, you can pull the program reports up to see which leaders are using the recognition programs well, or hardly at all. This helps identify the personal impact of leaders on turnover. Gather insights on who might need coaching and further supports. Not every leader is a people person, nor have they likely been trained to be such.

There is a lot more information available to you through your recognition and reward programs than meets the eye.

Recognition Reflection: What insights have you gained from data from your employee 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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