3 Ways to Take Your Recognition Program to the Next Level

Recognition programs are a great way to acknowledge employees when celebrating a service anniversary or acknowledging an employee’s great contributions, but such programs can encompass so much more.

According to WorldatWork’s Trends in Employee Recognition:

    • Create: 77% of respondents use recognition to create a positive work environment.
    • Encourage: 71% of respondents use recognition to encourage high performance.
    • Support: 64% of respondents use recognition to support their organization’s mission.

“Recognition is an opportunity to reinforce the things that are important to a company, the clients that they serve and how they would like people to behave with one another in the organization,” says Theresa Harkins-Schulz, senior vice president of customer success.

No matter the phase of your organization’s current recognition program, there are a few ways to help your program become even more effective over time. Here are three ways you can step up your organization’s recognition efforts.

Communicate your larger purpose

Being able to convey your organization’s larger mission and using a recognition strategy to link employee achievements back to a bigger purpose helps align employee behavior with company values. An effective way to keep communications and your larger mission on the same page is to develop a communications strategy that’s tied to your recognition program.

An effective strategy can be developed by:

    • Creating a simple message
    • Pinpointing opportunities to convey this message on a consistent basis
  • Finding influencers in the workplace that can help spread the word

When employees display company values, it’s important to find opportunities to recognize them and to highlight their example for others to follow. In some industries, it’s not uncommon for organizations to make customers aware of employees that have gone above and beyond. For example, many airlines will highlight company employees’ service to others in a section of their in-flight magazine.

Create both digital and experiential components to recognition

Using a multi-faceted approach to recognizing employees for length of service or substantial achievements can resonate with employees long after their award is received. Digital e-cards or a fun video message can be a great way for an employee’s peers to participate in a recognition event. A physical award can be provided during the event and additional mementos can be personalized afterwards. “I can remember an award I received and during the event, a colleague took a photo during the ceremony and framed it in a Lucite frame, along with a hand-written note,” says Harkins-Schulz. “I think being able to carry that through is meaningful and gives a great opportunity to reinforce the moment again. It’s also a physical keepsake that can be displayed and shared with others.”

Employees can be recognized not only for the support they bring to an organization, but also for contributions to the local community. This can be done by creating memorable experiences and volunteer opportunities that lead back to the company’s mission and values. Employees who facilitate a campaign for a local food bank or help build a home through Habitat for Humanity can be commended by co-workers and managers with a personalized digital e-card message that highlights their service to others.

Measure results with metrics and analytics

It’s also critical to track the results of your program. Develop key performance indicators that measure your current program offerings. Analytic reports display real-time data allowing you to determine which program components are helping to drive engagement as well as pinpoint where improvements can be made.

Metrics can allow you to see which employees and which departments are using program features like sending recognition, redeeming points, or signing up for events most often. For example, if data shows that some managers are not fully utilizing a program’s features within their department, it can be an opportunity for training on those specific program features.

When your company is ready to take its engagement platform to the next phase, the change doesn’t need to be drastic. Starting out with communicating a program’s larger purpose, providing a variety of engagement options and measuring results can work wonders to keep employees remaining engaged and involved in your recognition program’s efforts.

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