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.
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?
One of the many challenges in managing a recognition and rewards program is figuring out how to steer the course of your programs to maximum impact.
And one repeated concern I see is when program owners inherit a program, they call recognition, but it’s been almost a total rewards program. Getting rid of the rewards mindset that triggers entitlement, expectations, and “more please”, is hard to unlearn.
Providers, compensation and benefits associations, and non-profit business research organizations give good estimates on how much money to spend. They draw upon a percentage of your payroll budget or the average dollar spent per full-time equivalent (FTE) of employees.
But what’s missing is how much to spend on the different programs. Is there a perfect balance between recognition specific programs and reward type program? How do you advocate budgets based on how people use the different types of programs?
Many people have clicked on a previous version of this blog post wanting to learn how they should set up a point-based reward program.
Unfortunately, some individuals and recognition and reward providers suggest certain ideas as being best practices so the client’s employees will consume more points. So, buyer beware and let’s learn some principles versus supposed best practices to guide you.
My goal is to provide you with objective information along with solid principles for you to make wise decisions by. I will also give you some pros and cons for some options.
Designing and developing recognition programs take a lot of thought, planning, and creativity.
The best way I can recommend beginning is to consider the distinct programs falling under a pyramid. And like building most structures, the foundation is critical because it holds everything built on top of it.
That’s why you build your recognition programs from the bottom up.
When I assist company leaders in creating a recognition strategy, I take them through defining and crafting a purpose statement and philosophy statement as part of their strategy design.
Essentially, I am asking them to answer the question, why are you doing recognition?
WorldatWork asked the same question and received the following responses. These are the top seven of the 17 choices people had to select from.
1. Create/maintain a culture of recognition
2. Create/maintain a positive work environment
3. Reinforce desired behaviors
4. Increase employee engagement
5. Support organizational mission/values
6. Motivate high performance
7. Increase retention or decrease employee turnover
You can ask the same “why” question about giving rewards, too. Why are you giving rewards if you are combining them in a recognition and rewards program? Not enough people stop to define their reasons or purpose for giving rewards besides recognition.
How do you get leaders to be more aware of the importance of recognition and rewards?
Too often, recognition and rewards and the programs you have in place are not top of mind for many people. And when employees themselves are not on board with recognizing others, you know you’ve got a problem.
What does it take to raise the importance and value of recognition and rewards?