Online recognition programs are websites acting as a central platform for a variety of recognition and reward programs. They allow everyone in an organization to express their appreciation, say thanks to folks, and give recognition for the great things people do at work every day.
Those with permission can also give people rewards, whether tangible, monetary, or experiential. You give rewards to people for going above and beyond normal work expectations and when excellent performance occurs.
What can your recognition programs tell you that you’re not tapping into?
Too often we rely on lines from Hollywood movie scripts that say things like, “If you build it, they will come.” Unfortunately, that doesn’t work very well when it comes to recognition and reward programs.
Look at the following ideas to consider when you want to engage all, or more of, your employees in using your recognition programs.
Setting up business rules in the design and program strategy stage for a new recognition program can very interesting. I often get asked what ratio to set up for the usage of their recognition to rewards in their programs.
My answer is always the same. It all depends.
The thing is the answer really depends on the industry you are in and the need for using rewards or not, and many other factors. For example, a major Silicon Valley technology company will have a significantly higher ratio of rewards to recognition expectation than would a healthcare organization in Texas.
Here are a few guidelines to follow that might help you.
My purpose for this post is to convince you to make some changes. Strive to build positive relationships on a regular basis with your employees. This is an essential practice to develop in order to improve the value of nonmonetary recognition.
When you have a positive relationship with your staff, you are creating a foundation on which to build employee recognition, employee engagement, and a complete employee experience. This positive relationship strength between a giver of recognition and the recipient helps to enhance the value of the recognition and show the authenticity of the recognition expressed.
I’m going to share with you some principles to apply in fostering a more positive relationship with your employees and those you work with.
Reluctance in giving people the recognition they deserve comes from a fear of being rejected, and lack of preparation with recognizing people, and not having the proper mindset or the skills to give recognition. Resistance is normal and to be expected.
If you have reluctance to recognize well deserving peers and staff, you might procrastinate and put off sending an ecard or calling them up to praise them. You might repeatedly over-prepare, such that what you should say or what you should write to express recognition doesn’t happen, and you put it off.
You may second guess yourself and anticipate how you think the recipient will react and respond to the recognition you give them.
If you continue to ignore your reluctance to recognize those around you, and those who report to you, you could see employee performance bottom out and potentially see staff leave to go work where they will feel better appreciated.
Imagine if each person gave recognition just one percent better than the last time that they recognized someone. That’s all it takes to enhance your recognition practices and optimize the usage of your recognition programs. One percent improvement is all it takes. And here are some ways for you to give better recognition than anyone else every day.
Start your workday off by sending out or giving a thought of gratitude. Even if it is only one person you communicate with, imagine the difference you will make. Don’t open up your email inbox until you have emailed a message or spoken gratitude to someone.
Actively smile whenever you greet someone and especially when you recognize them. Whether face-to-face or virtually through the various video conference tools, a smile engages people and sends positive, emotional, non-verbal communication.
Ensure you make eye contact with people you express recognition to. When two people make eye contact when communicating, their brains actually synchronize emotional brainwaves and it enhances the receptiveness to what they said.
Be enthusiastic and use a positive tone of voice when verbally recognizing others. A positive tone of voice conveys the words communicated in a healthier and better way. Work to be more excited about the recognition you give, and people will feel it.
Use the person’s name in the text boxes of your online recognition programs. It is easy to neglect using a person’s name in an online program because you have selected who the message or ecard is going to. But people read the message in the box, so use it.
In text, writing, or speech, tell people specifically what you’re recognizing them for. Refrain from using the too short and sweet generic statements with your recognition. Tell them exactly what it was you noticed that impressed you. They really want to know.
In the same manner, be specific about how the person’s actions impacted others. Too often people do not know how their positive actions affected others. Share the impact their behaviors had on a peer, a customer, their boss, or for the company.
Work on using positive vocabulary versus neutral words when recognizing people. Stop using words like, “good job” or “well done.” The words “good” and “well” are neutral. And being more specific, eliminates “job,” and “done”. Get more creative. Be amazing!
Leave a voice mail message for someone expressing your thanks for their work. Try after hours to leave a voice mail message expressing your appreciation for the work an employee has done. It may surprise you how long people keep these messages and replay them.
Write a well written thank-you card or note to recognize people each day. If you write one card or note a day to any employee in the organization who has affected you, you will make a tremendous difference. Those cards become keepers, and people often reread them.
One trend I am seeing with different clients over the last two years is the development of written recognition strategies.
Organizations are leveraging a tighter mandate on recognition, especially when coupled with rewards in their programs.
I’ve seen programs where lower-level reward amounts, whether point-based or gift cards, are opened up in global recognition and reward programs for employees to reward their peers. This can create problems when the cost of living is low in some countries and employees use the rewards more as a make up for lack of salary increases, rather than rewarding above and beyond actions. And some staff get into a tit-for-tat of “I’ll reward you if you’ll reward me” behaviors when controls or approvals are not present.
So, why should recognition be more strategic in your organization?