Solve Recognition Program Problems With Positive Action

If there is one thing I know from over 20+ years in the field of employee recognition, and that is that recognition programs always come equipped with their own set of problems.

You can guarantee whenever you introduce and implement an online recognition program that some challenges and issues will arise.

Hopefully, you will have others helping you administer your programs. However, even if you are the maverick, “Indiana Jones” of recognition programs, working solo on solving your challenges, the following suggestions should still help you.

1. Define your recognition program problem.

Make sure you clearly define the problem with your recognition program as clearly as possible. Write down the problem so that even a person unfamiliar with recognition programs in any way could easily understand the situation.

Take these typical examples into consideration:

  1. How to increase the participation levels and usage of our social recognition program
  2. A number of recipients of service awards have been notified where to order their award gifts online, but still have not gone online to select and order their gift.
  3. According to the latest engagement survey, our employees still don’t feel valued and appreciated even after we developed an incredible formal, President’s Excellence award program.

2. Generate alternative solutions for the problem.

For each problem statement above request alternative solutions and ideas from different people from a variety of departments, diverse backgrounds, and experiences. Brainstorm with the right people as many ideas and suggestions as is possible.

Increase participation levels

  • Start a communication campaign to better inform people of the program, its benefits, and set expectations of people to use it
  • Provide better measurement reports so managers know who is using the program and who isn’t to improve accountability
  • Need leaders to set a better example of consistently using the program in an effective way.

Not selecting award gifts

  • Accessibility of intranet website for all employees from different work groups to be able to order gifts online
  • Poor attitude of management in not presenting the awards in a meaningful way when the gift arrives
  • Selection of the gift awards is reportedly getting stale with poor options to choose from

Unappreciated employees on engagement survey

  • Evaluate what we’re currently doing across the three types of recognition (everyday, informal, and formal) and how they’re each perceived by our employees
  • What training do our managers and supervisors receive, on how to give meaningful and effective recognition?
  • Hold focus groups to determine exactly what our employees mean when they say they’re not feeling valued and appreciated

3. Evaluate and select an alternative solution.

Consider the different alternatives presented and determine what information and facts might be needed to validate the suggestion. Evaluate which solution is the least disruptive and most acceptable to the majority of people. Think about which alternative fits with our organizational culture and overall business strategy.

  • Conduct surveys of your employees to ask specific questions regarding the selected solution, that obtain quantitative, measurable responses as well as open-ended, qualitative input for improvement
  • Present proposed ideas to a sample number of employees in focus groups and ask for their pros and cons of the suggestions
  • Have leaders and managers rank order the different solutions against a pre-determined set of criteria

4. Implement and follow up on the selected solution

Involve as many people as possible in implementing the agreed upon solution to gain support with the needed changes. Provide monitoring, measurement of new steps and procedures, and ongoing feedback mechanisms for ensuring a successful implementation and ongoing quality improvement.

  • Assign a project manager, where possible, to the implementation plan for the selected solution or else create some realistic timelines
  • Create a 90-day action plan with 30-day follow up email reporting and a 90-day review meeting who you report to with a written summary report
  • Report back to executive, or manager, sponsor on the success of the solution in resolving the recognition program problem

Don’t let a problem become a sore thumb that ruins the success of your recognition program.

Get input from fellow Human Resource professionals or operational managers to help you solve the recognition program problems you’ve observed.

The sooner you address the identified problems the sooner you will benefit from the positive outcomes that recognition programs can bring.

 Reflective Question: Where do you typically begin when addressing problems with your 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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