Top 10 Solutions to Typical Recognition Program Problems

Whenever technology is involved there will always be bugs and glitches that get in the way. It’s the same with recognition and reward programs. However, for the most part the biggest problem with recognition programs is not technology. It is the people factor and how recognition programs are used. Consider these Top 10 Solutions to Typical Recognition Program Problems to help you out.

1. Poorly Planned Programs. Too many leaders launch recognition programs without a plan. Create a recognition strategy with purpose, philosophy and principles. Determine overall objectives you want to achieve with them. Then set specific, measurable goals so you know how to measure your progress. Develop an annual plan to improve the weak areas of your recognition programs.

2. No Management Participation. Start right at the top by lobbying for an executive sponsor to champion the recognition cause. Show leaders how to use the programs and provide supports. Personally commit leaders to using recognition programs. Educate managers on recognition practices and using programs. Hold managers accountable for usage and monitor program reports.

3. Lacking Consistent Usage. You have your recognition programs in place but managers and employees aren’t using them. Apathy and complacency are the enemies of using tools for what they were meant for. Set clear expectations for using the programs. Regularly communicate how to use programs and share positive examples of great recognition givers and their impact on people.

4. Inability To Recognize. Recognition programs are simply tools for giving appreciation and recognition to other people. An effective user of recognition programs must already be effective in giving recognition face-to-face. Teach people the positive behaviors associated with giving people meaningful, memorable and motivational recognition. Expect people to apply these skills first.

5. Too Achievement Focused. Some recognition programs are really reward or incentive programs labeled solely as recognition programs. That’s because rewards are being used to reinforce performance outcomes. This can create an entitlement mentality. Don’t forget to use recognition programs to express appreciation, acknowledge people, and communicate gratitude for everyone.

6. Programs Remain Unknown. Sad to say it but there are companies with recognition programs that their employees don’t even know about. I’ve seen it when we get companies to inventory all the rogue programs that exist. Create a centralized strategy with some core programs and allow local programs to continue. Now brand, communicate and promote them everywhere you can.

7. Unclear Program Expectations. Spell out the expectations for each type of recognition program. Social recognition programs connect people with each other and positive actions. Performance recognition programs reinforce positive behaviors and strategic goals. Milestone or service awards are a celebration of people’s contributions. Don’t expect the wrong things from different programs.

8. Lousy Rewards Criteria. Recognition and reward programs can create problems when criteria for rewards are not clearly determined. What one person determines is above and beyond is different for someone else. Develop clear criteria for rewards based on whether the action was once or consistently done; the degree of impact of their actions; and who and where the impact was made.

9. Big Hoopla Launch. Beware grand launching of new programs with big glitz and full of pizzazz. Ask any IT department about introducing new software and they’ll tell you there are always bugs. The best advice I can give is if you start big you will end small; if you start small you will end big. Start by piloting the program in one division first. Iron out any program glitches before going company-wide.

10. Not Creating ROI. Recognition programs can be a sitting duck for being reduced in scope or completely eliminated when seen just as a feel-good-activity. Your recognition programs must be aligned with your businesses goals and seen as a performance driver. Make sure you are fully using reports and analytics to correlate recognition with results and always calculate business impact and ROI.

Previously published by this writer in Incentive Magazine.

What Makes Giving Feedback So Difficult for Leaders?

Two magazines arrived on my desk within weeks of one another and both highlighted “feedback” on their cover articles. Then I received an email inviting me to attend an online presentation about moving from feedback to action. Looks like the topic of feedback was on my radar.

Some of us have a hard time giving feedback and even receiving feedback.

“Can I give you some feedback?” 

Do you cringe at that question? Or do you look forward to discussions following that question? You and I can react so differently depending on the source of the feedback, your current work and life status, and what exactly you are being critiqued about. 

(more…)

Top 10 Solutions to Typical Recognition Program Problems

Whenever technology is involved there will always be bugs and glitches that get in the way. Likewise with recognition and reward programs. However, for the most part, the biggest problem with recognition programs is not technology. It is the people factor and how recognition programs are used. Consider these Top 10 Solutions to Typical Recognition Program Problems to help you out. (more…)

How To Make An Effective Formal Awards Program

I was recently in a meeting with an organization who wanted to design a formal awards program and I think they were surprised with the additional insights I brought to the table that they hadn’t considered before.

I will outline a few of the critical elements needed for creating an effective formal awards program. These areas will be covered under five broad steps that entail quite a bit of work for each one.

Each of these steps will help you whether a manually administered awards program or one simplified through technology. (more…)

How To Lead Recognition To Greater Success In Your Company

Leaders and managers of recognition practices and programs rarely get a chance to hone their leadership skills.

And, yet, effective leadership skills are essential for raising the profile and strategic possibilities behind employee recognition.

This post will examine some specific ways you can enhance your leadership skills to maximize employee recognition in your company. (more…)

5 Things Great Recognizers Do Better

There’s something special about the person who seems to exude recognition from their pores.

These are the people that seem to appreciate others so effortlessly and you always feel good to be around them.

They are often charismatic. No doubt they are “people” people. They tend to be more extroverted – but don’t worry if you’re not. Very observant individuals and they seem able to perceive how people are feeling.

Having heard hundreds of employees speak of how a certain manager or employee is great at recognizing them, it’s good to generalize on the common qualities they share.

So what is it that great recognizers do that other people ignore?

Follow these 5 practices for yourself so you can become a great recognizer where you work. (more…)

Top 10 Solutions to Typical Recognition Program Problems

Whenever technology is involved there will always be bugs and glitches that get in the way. Likewise with recognition and reward programs. However, for the most part the biggest problem with recognition programs is not technology. It is the people factor and how recognition programs are used. Consider these Top 10 Solutions to Typical Recognition Program Problems to help you out.

  1. Poorly Planned Programs. Too many leaders launch recognition programs without a plan. Create a recognition strategy with purpose, philosophy and principles. Determine overall objectives you want to achieve with them. Then set specific, measurable goals so you know how to measure your progress. Develop an annual plan to improve the weak areas of your recognition programs.
  2. No Management Participation. Start right at the top by lobbying for an executive sponsor to champion the recognition cause. Show leaders how to use the programs and provide supports. Personally commit leaders to using recognition programs. Educate managers on recognition practices and using programs. Hold managers accountable for usage and monitor program reports.
  3. Lacking Consistent Usage. You have your recognition programs in place but managers and employees aren’t using them. Apathy and complacency are the enemies of using tools for what they were meant for. Set clear expectations for using the programs. Regularly communicate how to use programs and share positive examples of great recognition givers and their impact on people.
  4. Inability To Recognize. Recognition programs are simply tools for giving appreciation and recognition to other people. An effective user of recognition programs must already be effective in giving recognition face-to-face. Teach people the positive behaviors associated with giving people meaningful, memorable and motivational recognition. Expect people to apply these skills first.
  5. Too Achievement Focused. Some recognition programs are really reward or incentive programs labeled solely as recognition programs. That’s because rewards are being used to reinforce performance outcomes. This can create an entitlement mentality. Don’t forget to use recognition programs to express appreciation, acknowledge people, and communicate gratitude for everyone.
  6. Programs Remain Unknown. Sad to say it but there are companies with recognition programs that their employees don’t even know about. I’ve seen it when we get companies to inventory all the rogue programs that exist. Create a centralized strategy with some core programs and allow local programs to continue. Now brand, communicate and promote them everywhere you can.
  7. Unclear Program Expectations. Spell out the expectations for each type of recognition program. Social recognition programs connect people with each other and positive actions. Performance recognition programs reinforce positive behaviors and strategic goals. Milestone or service awards are a celebration of people’s contributions. Don’t expect the wrong things from different programs.
  8. Lousy Rewards Criteria. Recognition and reward programs can create problems when criteria for rewards are not clearly determined. What one person determines is above and beyond is different for someone else. Develop clear criteria for rewards based on whether the action was once or consistently done; the degree of impact of their actions; and who and where the impact was made.
  9. Big Hoopla Launch. Beware grand launching of new programs with big, glitz and full of pizzazz. Ask any IT department about introducing new software and they’ll tell you there are always bugs. Best advice I can give is if you start big you will end small; if you start small you will end big. Start with piloting the program in one division first. Iron out any program glitches before going company-wide.
  10. Not Creating ROI. Recognition programs can be a sitting duck for being reduced in scope or completely eliminated when seen just as a feel-good-activity. Your recognition programs must be aligned with your businesses goals and seen as a performance driver. Make sure you are fully using reports and analytics to correlate recognition with results and always calculate business impact and ROI.

 

This article was originally published in the Strategy column of September 2017 issue of Incentive Magazine.

 

Why You Need Recognition In Your Strategic HR Plan

Find the nearest Chief People Officer or Chief Human Resources Officer and demand that employee recognition be included in their Strategic HR Plan.

This fancy, multi-page document, with charts and pictures, models, frameworks and goals, links the needs of your people with the business strategy and goals your leaders want to achieve for your organization.

Your Chief Financial Officer has already made sure the financial projections and plans have been laid out on how to reach those goals.

These days most mid- to large sized organizations have a strategic plan. It is becoming equally essential to have a strategic human resource plan.

Talent management, for example, is becoming a major issue with the aging workforce crisis and lack of educated and trained people to replace those retiring.

But too often employee recognition gets overlooked in strategic HR plans.

(more…)

Here’s How To Create Really Meaningful Celebrations

Have you ever received an award or some tangible recognition and felt it was a totally rushed experience? Or maybe you felt the recognition was not even representative of what you accomplished?

When these things happen it doesn’t make you feel very recognized because you were not celebrated in a meaningful way.

In this post I will show you how to ensure the awards and other recognition you give to employees are meaningful and celebratory for each recipient. (more…)

Are You Helping Your Leaders to Give Recognition?

Senior leaders are not always the best recognizers or praisers of employees doing good work. They are where they are for many reasons and it is not often for recognition giving.

My question for you as a manager or owner of employee recognition is, what are you going to do to help your leaders do better with giving recognition?

Don’t sweat that last question.

I am going to offer you some simple ideas to help you help your leaders give better and more frequent recognition to employees. (more…)