Many social recognition programs available from vendors operate very similar to Meta/Facebook. You have a social newsfeed where you can add status updates. And you can send themed specific ecards or social badges to celebrate achievements, thank people for their help, reward performance goals reached, and acknowledge colleagues’ birthdays and milestone celebrations.
And there is something else that each of us can do. As we go on to our recognition and reward programs, there is the special opportunity to like the various recognition messages sent and to even add our personal comments.
Does liking and commenting make a difference to people? Is one better than the other?
Let’s explore some research and see if we can extrapolate anything that we can apply in our social recognition programs.
If there is one major thing that will help propel recognition forward, it’s having your senior leaders aligned with your recognition strategy.
As a manager and leader of recognition in your organization, your role is to help get your executive sponsor to agree to your recognition strategy and plans, and then assist you with how best to execute it.
These are some thoughts and practical steps you can take to get your recognition champion aligned on recognition.
In my earlier life as a speech-language pathologist, I vividly recall an external consultant coming into the hospital I worked at analyzing our organizational challenges. We brainstormed and followed his facilitated methods to let some potential plans and goals unfold.
And so, our creative content on the flip chart sheets was all typed up and distributed to the attendees. That’s where they sat, so it seemed, for many months. I told our hospital’s CEO that there was a problem with this consultant’s work. They set nothing up for implementing the plans.
I recently finished helping a client’s organization team in drafting a recognition plan to address their gaps with recognition practices and recognition programs. I nicely printed everything up in a flow chart looking model.
I will not leave them alone with this document. I have prescribed a method for how to implement their recognition plan so they will achieve success.
Understanding the frequency with which different types of recognition typically occur will help guide your usage of recognition programs and planning to make other forms of recognition happen. These are the elements that you must teach others, too. Then they will use your recognition programs wisely and practice recognition giving more often.
This is important to remember because each person at work has different expectations of how often they think other people should recognize them. So, there is also a frequency preference to contend with for every employee.
Let me give you an example from a healthcare organization that I surveyed to look at the frequency of recognition and how their employees felt about it.
I sat in an employee recognition session at the IMA Summit last week at the Snowbird, Utah resort. A participant I know shared their experience with the group that opened my eyes to a very important point of view.
You can sit down with each of your employees and ask them questions about their recognition preferences. Your online recognition and reward programs may automate the entry of recognition choices and how they prefer to be recognized. You can do this with onboarding or any time during their career.
However, what this individual raised was a critical point. Employees’ recognition preferences are not static.
Clearly inform leaders, managers, and employees of each program offering in your recognition and reward platform.
Unfortunately, not everyone uses all of your recognition programs well. Communicate and educate about program options and their benefits continually.
Sometimes, there’s a mindset that rewards are recognition. When this happens, people give rewards out too freely when expressions of recognition are better suited. And the inverse is also true. If an employee truly excels and goes above and beyond and merits a reward, they end up receiving recognition instead and might feel deflated and unvalued.
When you are dealing with online recognition and reward programs, you must inform everyone what they have available to them.
Many of us have worked solely from home during the pandemic. Organizational leaders are now working hard to get people back to the office and plant floors. And some organizations are trialling a hybrid approach of working so many days at work and the balance from home.
However, in all this array of work arrangements, one thing has emerged that was not expected. Employees missed seeing their senior and executive leaders. Nearly 30% of employees during recent focus groups at a healthcare organization suggested leadership presence as one way they could improve employee recognition. Sometimes, the absence of senior leaders has taken a negative toll.
What are you doing to address leaders who appear to be missing in action?
Recently, I was conducting a webinar when the organization’s Chief Human Resources Officer asked me a candid question. They wanted to know what difference a recognition strategy having would have on their organization.
I answered this question live and off the top of my head from my experience to date. Now, I am going to spell out in greater detail the difference a recognition strategy will have for you and your organization.
If there is one thing that I have learned from over 25-years in the recognition field, it’s that people define the same terms completely differently. For some people, they say recognition and they really mean rewards, and it’s difficult to shift their mindset. Then there are others who think that rewards are the only form of recognition they need.
That’s why I always strive to level-set the playing field by educating everyone on the working definitions of terms like recognition and rewards. My recommendation is for you to do exactly the same thing where you work. Teach everyone the definitions that resonate for you and your organization.
If there is one thing anyone managing recognition programs wants the most, it is to have everyone using the online recognition programs they have in place. And yet, it seems most organizations think that as soon as you flip the switch on for recognition programs, they will automatically get used.
Unfortunately, that is never the case.
Look at the following factors and see if there is one or two that might need a tuneup. Once you have these in place, I guarantee you will have stronger and more consistent recognition program participation levels.