It looks like you’ve got a problem.
You want to recognize Kim in another location of the company but their work doesn’t require them to connect with computers on a regular basis, if at all.
Right now, you have all your recognition programs hosted under a vendor delivered system located on an online web portal.
And it’s true, not all of your employees are sitting in front of a computer all day long. Your diverse workforce has many unique responsibilities and could have hands on work with little technology interaction.
Consider hospitality and restaurant services and the construction and healthcare industries.
So how do you leverage everything you’ve designed within your online recognition programs to benefit your offline employees?
Consider labor-intensive jobs like construction or railway line maintenance. Supervisors and managers out in the field with these employees are nowhere near head office or any computer. Yet like anyone else, they will observe employees who consistently live the company values and demonstrate positive behaviors on the job.
Recognition Out In the Field
Here’s how one organization handled the dilemma.
They established awards at various levels such as Gold, Bronze and Silver. These levels corresponded to different performance criteria levels such as consistency and commitment, etc.
Each supervisor or manager received a branded wallet that had a supply of cards for each of the levels described above. The cards display a few of the award items and an invitation to go online to see more items available to them. Instructions are also provided on how to present the award to make this a special recognition experience.
To accommodate offline employees the recognition system uses Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology. This allows a computer to interact with people through the use of voice and the Touch-Tone system using the telephone keypad. Recognition recipients call an 800# and follow the voice response instructions. They can also go to the employee Intranet site later on or visit the recognition and reward website when they get home.
All they need to do to receive their award is to provide their employee number, current home address for mailing the gift to, the serial number printed on the recognition card they received, and the product identification code for the item they’ve selected.
Having the identification codes allows for the tracking customary to most computer accessible recognition programs.
Less-Online Recognition Example
Another industry challenged with going online is healthcare. Nurses may have to enter in patient care information and daily updates on various technology systems but have no opportunity to go on a computer. Over half of a healthcare system’s employees will likely not interface with a computer in their jobs.
This is where dependence on paper-based acknowledgment processes may be necessary. Having branded thank you cards to handwrite worthy praise and validation of the work people are doing goes a long way.
Similarly, you can have cards highlighting the values of the hospital and use these when you catch someone demonstrating one of the values in a meaningful way.
All you can do here is keep track of number and type of cards being ordered at any given time from which department and area to measure things. Not the most effective but it is one way of keeping track.
Perhaps a supervisor or manager has a computer so they can print off a certificate with a specific message conveying appreciation and noting the contribution an individual has made on the job.
Alternatives to Computers On the Job
The best recognition that healthcare workers can get is from their patients. Some healthcare organizations have display holders on the units with cards that patients and families can complete to commend someone.
And it doesn’t mean that the patients and families don’t have access to computers. Some hospitals have set up an online website for patients and families to acknowledge workers who have made a difference to them.
With a large majority of employees having smartphones these days, many organizations are relying on social recognition platforms where you can send recognition messages à la Facebook style just within the company and people can view on their devices in their free moments.
Whenever a giver of recognition can go online to use your programs you have a record of the recognition given. You have the opportunity to monitor who is being recognized and how frequently, and to see what the reasons are that people are being acknowledged.
Always remember that recognition programs are simply a tool to help people with their recognition practices.
Never let the lack of presence of a computer or device stop you from appreciate the great things your people are doing.
Question: What do you do to get around a lack of computer accessibility and using online recognition programs?
Roy is no longer writing new content for this site (he has retired!), but you can subscribe to Engage2Excel’s blog as Engage2Excel will be taking Roy’s place writing about similar topics on employee recognition and retention, leadership and strategy.