10 Tips for effective employee recognition
It’s well known that employee recognition schemes have a positive impact on organisations of all sizes and in all industries. However, all to often I hear the phrase, “My recognition programme isn’t working.” If this sounds like you, or if you just want to increase the impact of your recognition, then here are 10 tips to ensure your recognition programme is effective in making a valuable contribution to your organisation: 1. Have a clear strategy Whether you have a formal or informal recognition programme it should be based on a solid strategy. This should include how the programme will align with and support the company’s vision, values and goals, as well as how you will measure its impact and how you will ensure it maintains momentum rather than fizzles out. 2. Get management buy-in Management buy-in to your recognition scheme is critical, as a recognition culture needs to come from the top down. Your management team should be regularly briefed on the scheme so that they can talk, both formally and informally, to staff members about the scheme and encourage participation in it. 3. Communicate regularly The reason most employee recognition programmes fizzle out is because they are launched with a big fanfare, but then organisations forget that they need to continually remind their employees about its benefits, rewards and how it aligns with the organisation’s vision and goals. Regular communication, that communicates your key messages and that is delivered to your employees in an appropriate manner is the key to success. 4. Set clear and fair rules It’s obvious but if you want your recognition scheme to be a success don’t set criteria that are unattainable to some, if not all, members of staff: the ability to earn a reward should be the same across every department and levels. You should also ensure your criteria and rules are clearly communicated to everyone to avoid confusion. 5. Inspire with carefully chosen rewards Don’t waste money on rewards that don’t inspire. Consult with your staff and look at your employee demographics to help you decide on the best rewards, after all we’re all motivated by different things. Rewarding with vouchers means that rewards are easy to manage but your employees get to choose a gift that is meaningful to them. 6. Offer on the spot rewards Avoid demotivating employees by only rewarding long-term goals, and add some instant rewards for behaviour-based achievements, or when they just deserve a pat on the back, into the reward mix. Voucher Cheques make an ideal way to instantly reward an employee for doing something great. 7. Make it easy to use and simple to manage If your programme isn’t easy to manage or makes it time consuming to recognise an employee then you’ll discourage managers from recognising their team or employees from recognising their co-workers. Invest in a platform that is simple to use and you’ll automatically increase employee recognition in your organisation. Plus you’ll benefit from improved cost-control and detailed management information. 8. Measure the results If you’re not measuring the results, how will you know if your recognition scheme is working? And more importantly, how will you know what works and what doesn’t? Decide what metrics you want to measure at the outset and ensure that the recognition platform enables you to measure your key performance indicators. 9. Use technology Social employee recognition is becoming increasingly popular because not only does it make it easy and convenient to recognise direct reports and colleagues but it also allows employees to share their achievements. As a result it can really boost employee engagement in the programme. 10. Don’t rest on your laurels Employee demographics and the latest reward trends can all have an impact on the success of your recognition scheme. Make it your mission to keep your scheme up-to-date and working effectively by seeking feedback from your employees, monitoring the results and making changes to improve the scheme and maximise its impact. With a carefully thought out plan, consistent communication and the ability to update every organisation can run a successful employee recognition programme that improves your profitability, staff retention and employee motivation.
John Sylvester has been largely responsible for the development and growth of the motivation & incentive discipline with P&MM.
Having worked in the motivation agency business since completing a business degree in 1984, John joined P&MM in 1989 and the main board in 1996.