Make Sure You Eliminate Bias With Judging Awards

Most organizations have a formal awards program that is their “best-of-the-best” academy awards event. These formal award programs are truly the best performance ranking, or earned award, such as the top salesperson, or they are nomination based and selected by a judging committee.

Often the selected jurors are previous award recipients because they know the standard required to become an award winner.

But does using previous award winners as jurors who are peers of potential award candidates lead to bias in selecting winners? 

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What Makes Recognition Different From Appreciation?

A subscriber of our Authentic Recognition blog suggested I should write about the difference between recognition (more related to work) versus appreciation (more related to the person).

I asked them why this topic was important right now. It seems their organization uses the Gallup Organization’s Q12 engagement survey every two years. In the past year they focused on the recognition specific question/statement #4, “In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work”. 

Her research, like many of us have found, led her to see that “recognition in the workplace” has so many meanings.

She wisely observes that “people fundamentally want to be ‘understood and cared for’ or ‘appreciated’ and would prefer that over ‘recognition’”

She asked for my thoughts on the differences between recognition and appreciation.  Apparently, her organization will likely continue with using recognition. However, she wonders if more time should be spent on appreciation instead of recognition in order to improve the Gallup survey scores.

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Top 10 Ways to Select the Right Incentive or Recognition Award

Make sure the awards you give excite recipients and represent your company well.

Choosing the right awards for your various incentive and recognition programs is never an easy task. You want to show employees that their contributions are valued and appreciated. Awards should match your program’s goals and celebrate employee achievements. Today’s employees want more than the traditional award items. Check out the Top 10 Ways to Select the Right Incentive or Recognition Award to help you decide.

1. Clearly spell out your program’s purpose. Is this award for a sales campaign? Are you wanting to get people enlisted in your health and wellness platform? Or is this a prestigious award for the president’s excellence program? Awards must always fit the program purpose and desired performance level.

2. Have employees involved and ask them. Use an employee survey to get the big picture view and employee input. Ask them to prioritize on criteria such as the meaningfulness and perception of various award options. Draw upon focus groups, too, so you can dig deeper. Solicit the why behind each employee idea.

3. Focus on the meaningfulness factor. Employees are very clear on whether an award item is meaningful or not. Always add on to the award presentation. For example, who’s presenting the award? How have you orchestrated the total award celebration experience? What elements can you make even better?

4. Inspire and excite award recipients. Does the incentive or recognition award inspire the recipient to do, and be, better? As you explore award items – whether tangible gifts or symbolic awards – find out how excited employees are to receive them. Evaluate the emotional appeal of the awards you’re thinking about.

5. Provide choice wherever you can. Giving people exciting options to decide from is a great way to create motivation. Whether the awards are a lifestyle item, health and fitness, electronics, outdoor, or experiential items, charitable donations, or gift cards. Think choice! This factor can be especially critical with incentives.

6. Always use quality, name brand products. It can be a real let down when an award gift breaks or stops functioning shortly after receiving it. Stick with brand name items that are top quality. Ensure your award vendor is reputable and has a great exchange and replacement policy. Your award speaks for you.

7. Put symbolic awards on a pedestal. Trophies and medals must be totally representative of your organization. Look at Olympic medals and the Oscars® for what they mean to recipients. Whatever symbolic award the design must be an extension of the company and your brand. They will become a treasured prize.

8. Think outside of the box for novel ideas. No need to stay with the tried and true award selections. Dabble in creativity such as a customized portrait painting from a family photo of a recipient. Provide an opportunity to learn something new from an expert that the employee has mentioned such as painting or in music.

9. Move from tangible to experiential. Corporate volunteer trips to destinations around the world appeal to younger generation employees. They can build schools or set up wells with water access. This is a fully immersive cultural and teambuilding experience that leaves a legacy associated with your company.

10. Choose your own adventure. Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman made famous the idea of doing things before you “kick the bucket”. Have employees choose experiences that bring joy. It could be skydiving, an amazing destination experience like whale watching in Patagonia, or cooking with a chef in Paris.

 

A version of this post first appeared in Incentive Magazine.

It’s All In The Presentation

What must you do when you present awards at an awards ceremony?

Presenting your company’s awards at an awards ceremony can be a nerve racking and terrifying experience. This can feel especially so if you’ve never hosted an awards event before.

There could be hundreds of people watching you. One major mistake and you’ll see the gossip spread for days about your poor performance.

You know you need to master the art of presenting your awards. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind. (more…)

Why Recognizing Employees For Going Above and Beyond Is a Good Thing

When employees go above and beyond in the workplace it stands out.

It’s noticeable. Exceptional. And it should be celebrated.

That is why managers need to understand the importance of recognizing employees for going above and beyond.

Why should you establish an above and beyond category to your existing recognition award programs? What are the benefits of doing so? (more…)

What You Can Delegate With Your Recognition Programs

I remember standing at the front of a boardroom in a meeting with a dozen or so regional presidents for an organization we were launching a new upgrade for their recognition and reward program.

One regional president seemed to brush off some of the finer details we were instructing them on because, as he said, “I just have my assistant do all my recognition.”

With a few clarifying questions it became clear he wasn’t joking. He was not delegating recognition because of legitimate absences or specific needs. He literally delegated all recognition giving to his assistant and he made no attempts at giving recognition himself.

I recall saying to the entire group that you cannot delegate the act of giving recognition. You can only delegate the transactional and administrative aspects of your recognition and reward programs.

Check out the following situations that might happen in your workplace that could warrant delegating recognition program responsibilities. (more…)

What It Takes To Be A Best Practice Award Winner

RBC Financial Group – Best Practice Award Winner

Do you think your company’s recognition programs could merit winning Recognition Professionals International’s (RPI) Overall Best Practice Award?

I’m going to let you in on a secret of what it takes to win this award.

I have been on the judges’ committee for RPI’s Best Practice Awards for the past 11 years. We’ve seen over 70 organizations submit written nominations to vie for the Overall Best Practice Award. Those companies that submit nominations benefit from receiving the judges’ written feedback on strengths and areas needing improvement, along with quantified scores for each of the standard criteria they’ve been judged on.

Last year I had the opportunity to assist one of our clients, RBC Financial Group, with writing up their nomination form for consideration of the Best Practice Award. I am very pleased to say they actually won the Overall Best Practice Award. Naturally, I had to recuse myself from judging their nomination.

That’s why I know what it takes to be a Best Practice Award winner. (more…)

The Importance of Being Nominated For An Award

Having read and watched the media reports from the 90th Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Oscars Awards, it reminded me that being nominated for an award is a pretty big deal.

You may know the Academy is an invitation-only membership of directors and actors. These two groups of 7,258 voting members are the ones who vote and decide upon the winners from their respective branches.

Being nominated by one’s peers means a lot to those who are nominated.

What can we learn from this annual Oscars award event about the importance of being nominated for an award? (more…)

Is This the End of Awards at School?

I don’t know if you remember what your experience of award assemblies at school was like for you. I only know I never got an award when I was at mine.

Not that my academic skills and abilities merited an award.

I recently found my high school report card booklet from England that showed several years of my educational abilities. Most of my teachers seemed to use the same old comment over and over again, “Could do better.” Problem was, no one ever explained to me what “better” actually was.

Thank goodness I found myself when I was at university!

But what I do remember from my schooldays was seeing the typical kids who did well academically in class, marching across the stage receiving whatever accolades and acknowledgments for their accomplishments they’d earned that year.

Not too motivating for me. Hopefully it was for them. (more…)

Giving Recognition The Way They Want It

How do you deal with receiving public recognition?

For some, having to go up on stage before a crowd or be in front of their peers at a meeting, and receive well-deserved public recognition, can all seem like torture versus the intended recognition.

And yet, in North America, we have a tendency to almost drag people into the limelight to supposedly honor and laud them.

For the extroverts reading this it is easy to forget there are some employees who plain do not like public recognition. (more…)