What Is The Purpose of Your Recognition Programs?

One reason recognition programs succeed is because they have a clear core purpose behind them.

Besides simply answering the “why” question for each of your recognition programs, work also towards using your recognition programs purposefully.

Check out the following purpose-driven ideas for helping your recognition programs thrive.

Look at the following technology and need motivated suggestions to focus your efforts in creating a deeper purpose to each of your programs. 

Step #1: Deliver Recognition Experiences.

You have unengaged managers and too few employees participating with your main recognition programs. What can you do?

Your overall purpose is to increase the number of employees, no matter what position they hold, in giving recognition through your programs. 

Look at the statistics through your recognition programs. Start with your managers and find out the percentage that give and those that give no recognition online. How many recognition messages do they send per month? Do employees feel recognized by their immediate supervisor or manager?

Now, look at the direct reports of those managers. Find out if managers recognized their staff in the last week or month? How do employees do in recognizing peer-to-peer? Look at each of your program options—social recognition posts, ecards sent, performance award nominations given—start creating a picture of what recognition looks like in your organization. 

Understand the reality of recognition, and whether you are delivering the recognition experience to people that you want. 

Action Plan

1. Organize some cross-functional teams to look at the data you have collected. Facilitate some candid discussions about what is working, what needs to stop, and what you need to start doing with your online recognition programs.

2. Enlist the help of your functional and subject experts to gain their perspective of the human psychology and use of technology. Are there roadblocks you’ve inadvertently imposed on people because of how the program was designed? 

Step #2: Build Simple Programs 

It’s critical to humanize the technology behind the use of our recognition programs. IT professionals need input from end users and understanding human psychology to keep recognition programs simple and effective. 

This may require designing your recognition programs so they can grow in a modular and staged manner rather than pushing everything at once. The technology behind your recognition programs must always answer the question, how will employees feel better recognized through our programs. 

Action Plan 

1. Make sure that both managers and employees test out the recognition programs to validate what has been designed and developed. Take careful notes and listen to what each group says because you will reap dividends of ideas to influence successful program outcomes.

2. Approach your managers and your employees in separate groups and ask each of them to give you their wish list for what they would love recognition programs to do for them. Brainstorm these ideas with your IT team or with your recognition program vendor. 

Step #3: Resources Transform Recognition 

I love the word transformation because it means to transform or create a new future. Too often we get stuck on wanting to change things from the past, which most people are uncomfortable in doing. 

So, to transform recognition giving, and in particular, with using your recognition programs more effectively, you are going to need resources to inspire, teach, educate, and maintain ongoing recognition giving. 

Develop video and screen capture tutorials on how to effectively use each of your online recognition programs. Market and communicate the benefits of each program by interviewing top recognizing managers, along with employees, on how well recognized they feel. Provide articles and cheat sheets guides to help all employees on how to express recognition in the most meaningful manner. Provide regular training on recognition giving through lunch-and-learn sessions, webinars, and bite-size video content sent out by email. 

Action Plan 

1. Remember those managers you saw on your reports that never gave recognition? Find out why and address those concerns as one targeted audience. Show them how to recognize people through using your programs. Now, hold them accountable for giving genuine recognition to their staff. Give them tips and ideas for making their recognition giving meaningful and easy to do.

2. Ask your employees what would help them give better and more frequent peer-to-peer recognition. You could also ask them when the last time was that they recognized a leader or their immediate manager for anything. Recognition is multidirectional and not just top down. 

Tackle these three areas and develop actions plans that best suit your organization. Even if you work on just one step, you’ll be helping to use your recognition programs purposefully. 

Recognition Reflection: Do your staff use your recognition programs in a purposeful way?

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