Top 10 Reasons Companies Fail with Employee Recognition

An OfficeTeam survey discovered a disconnect between managers’ and employees’ answer to the question, “How effective do you think your company is at recognizing employees for good performance?” It seems 89% of senior managers felt their organization was good at showing appreciation to workers. But only 70% of employees gave their firms high marks for acknowledging their achievements. Start correcting this gap through addressing these Top 10 Reasons Companies Fail with Employee Recognition today.

1. No Commitment: Only when leaders are fully committed to using recognition as a strategic tool for achieving business goals and elevating engagement and people strategies, will recognition and reward programs and practices really take off in companies.

2. No Purpose: Everyone in the organization has to be on the same page about recognition and rewards. They will need to know what recognition and rewards mean, and why you use them for what reason and when. Answer the why and the how will become more obvious.

3. No Strategy: An effective recognition strategy keeps all business units focused on how to use the available formal, informal and everyday recognition programs and practices. Companies who have a written recognition strategy are more aligned with their business strategy too.

4. No Expectations: If you don’t spell out the expectations for recognition giving to managers and to employees, it just won’t happen. You have to write it out, shout it out and repeat it, that everyone has permission to recognize one another for making a difference and a contribution.

5. No Feedback: Too many people get away with doing things wrong or doing nothing at all and then we wonder why things fail. Similarly, the classic catching people doing things right requires giving exemplary recognizers the praise they deserve to encourage more recognition giving.

6. No Learning: Not everyone is a natural at acknowledging people’s contributions and appreciating them meaningfully. Counter this with some well delivered online learning content and training, and using regular communication channels to promote giving recognition the right way.

7. No Resources: Some of us need help. Managers and employees alike need tips, tools and ideas readily at hand for knowing how to give sincere recognition and the right and wrong ways of an effective thank you card or note. Make sure online resources and tangible supplies are on hand.

8. No Measurement: We often limit metrics to the operational usage of our online recognition programs. It is critical to mesh these quantitative reports with valuable employee perception data of recognition effectiveness drawn from pulse checks, focus groups and engagement surveys.

9. No Accountability: Recognition giving and effective usage of programs will always be lacking if managers do not have performance management reviews of their recognition giving. Program administrators also need to be held accountable for the ROI of performance and recognition programs.

10. No Reinforcement: The effective art and practice of recognition giving as well as commendable use of existing reward and recognition programs needs to be celebrated. Senior leaders must highlight managers and employees who masterfully appreciate great employees in the company.

Question: Which factor has most negatively impacted your recognition programs and practices?

Previously published in Incentive Magazine

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.

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