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?

Recognition Focuses on People AND Your Business

The simple answer is that you don’t have to decide between people and business.

Think “and” versus “or” instead, and you’ll be good to go.

WorldatWork conducts a biennial survey on recognition trends. With their 2019 edition of the Trends in Employee Recognition, they found only 49 percent of organizations have a written recognition strategy. Of those organizations with a written recognition strategy, 97 percent are aligned with their organizational strategy.

That’s what you need to aim for. An organizational strategy that includes both people and business.

Where We Can Get Stuck

Your goal is to have a people strategy approach to recognition that also drives strategic business results.

However, here’s a reality check. The Talent Strategy Group from New York City conducted a global survey and found out some interesting facts from over 1,200 HR practitioners.

It seems that 70 percent of the HR respondents were only interested in helping people grow, while 50 percent wanted to help their organization maximize its profitability. Recognition and reward professionals need to get a better grip on the business goals of the organization. Show your leaders and managers how the organization’s recognition and reward programs can become a powerful tool for leaders and managers for driving business results. 

HR, or whoever recognition reports under in your organization needs to get a better understanding of their organization’s business strategy and the goals senior leaders are shooting for. They also need to know how they can steer recognition and reward programs to be leverage the business results an organization needs to achieve.

Prove Recognition Impacts People and Business

According to the AON 2018 Trends in Global Employee Engagement, the Rewards and Recognition dimension of their survey was the strongest driver of employee engagement for the second year in a row. However, in the 2018 survey, “recognition for contributions (beyond pay and benefits)” was the key factor in putting Rewards and Recognition at the top, with “fair pay” playing a supporting role.

Now to make the link between recognition driving employee engagement, and employee engagement driving business results, let’s look to the Gallup group. 

They found that compared with business units in the bottom quartile, those in the top quartile of employee engagement scores, realize substantially better customer engagement, higher productivity, better retention, fewer accidents, and 21% higher profitability. 

As you move forward with your recognition plans and goals make sure you evaluate your organization’s business and people strategies to ensure your recognition and reward programs are in the driver’s seat.

Recognition Reflection: How well are your recognition and reward programs aligned with your organization’s strategic initiatives?

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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