Use Your Recognition Programs the Right Way, Right Now!

Being unable to get their company’s managers to consistently and correctly use their online recognition programs often frustrates most owners and managers of employee recognition programs.

Yet, there’s an interesting irony to this problem when you ask yourself, how often have we involved managers in the design of our recognition programs? We can eliminate many of our problems if make our programs more manager and employee-centric and give them a positive user experience.

Getting Manager Involvement From The Start

1. Make it easy.You need to prove to a manager that sending a recognition message or making a reward transaction does not take much time. And if it does, then you had better solicit their input on what would make it easier and quicker.

2. Make them strategic.Your people need to be a primary reason for acknowledging and appreciating people. And these recognition tools need to be strategically aligned with your culture and your business strategy goals as well.

3. Make programs visible.Your recognition portal and programs need to be front and center with a single sign-on step and they’re in. If it is not in their direct line of vision these programs will get easily overlooked.

4. Make them a priority. You need to make appropriate use of recognition programs an expectation of performance management. Holding managers accountable for recognition giving is one reason programs are underutilized.

5. Make programs understandable.You must be constantly communicating about the purpose of each of your recognition programs to keep them top of mind. Share exemplary practices with peers and ask for feedback to improve.

6. Make learning fun.Whether online tutorials, webinars across the company, or face-to-face instruction, keep reinforcing the importance of these valuable tools managers can be using. Always be educating about giving recognition right.

Have Managers Use Recognition Programs the Right Way

1. Right purpose and intent. You need to make sure managers identify their personal purposes and intentions for using recognition programs. For example, usage should not be to make them look like a great manager.

2. Right amount of frequency. Encourage managers to create their personal habits and timetable for using the different programs. Adding comments to a social newsfeed may be daily. Sending ecards will happen as needed.

3. Right way of giving. Teach managers to go beyond “great job!” lines and be very specific in acknowledging employee behaviors and actions. Connect the dots by sharing the impact and difference employees’ actions have made.

4. Right timing of recognition. Even with recognition programs there’s a small window of opportunity between the observed or reported behavior and giving timely recognition.Help them know when they see something to recognize it.

5. Right people recognized. Many online recognition programs allow individual and team distribution. Ensure to include all involved people in the recognition you send. Make the display of the recognition private or public as appropriate.

6. Right reasons for recognition. Safeguard that recognition and rewards are given for the right reasons with no gaming or manipulation in mind. It should never become a tit-for-tat exercise but for meaningful, authentic recognition.

Hopefully, these points will stimulate some thinking for you to consider how you will help your managers use your recognition programs more consistently.

Reflective Question: Do you have a hard time getting your company’s managers to use your recognition programs the way you would like?

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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