Remember how good it felt in grade school when the teacher put a sticker on your test because you got a perfect score? If you’re like most employees, not a lot has changed. You probably like recognition and rewards just as much now as you did then. Employee recognition fulfills our intrinsic need to be acknowledged for our achievements, and motivates us by making us feel accepted.
Not only does recognition make employees feel good, but companies that inspire their employees with meaningful recognition perform better in the marketplace. Consider the companies that earn a place on Fortune Magazine’s “100 best Companies to Work For” list. Since 1998, the publicly traded companies in that group have outperformed the S&P 500 index by nearly 2 to 1.
Implementing an effective employee recognition program requires specific considerations and a program that fits your company’s needs. Here are a few tips on how to implement a recognition strategy that will engage and align your employees.
Determine your budget and criteria
It’s time to put your money where your mouth is; determine the criteria for rewards, and set your budget. Be sure to determine the behaviors needed to achieve business objectives, and base rewards on these behaviors. Most organizations spend about one or two percent of payroll on their employee recognition programs, but be sure to allocate the amount of money needed to execute your plan and achieve your goals. Remember that engaged employees perform better, and think of your rewards as an investment.
Ensure recognition for all
Recognition and rewards need to be executed across the entire organization to have a lasting impact. Everyone in all levels of the company must use recognition, and the program should allow for people at all levels to recognize each other. With mobile or desktop service, recognition can and should happen anywhere, at any time.
Eliminate barriers for recognition
Empower your employees to appropriately recognize each other. Eliminate barriers, such as approvals for recognition and rewards. Program adoption will likely suffer if employees aren’t able to freely recognize each other, which will put the success of the program at risk. Trust your employees to know when rewards and recognition are warranted.
Make recognition visible
It’s great to celebrate employee contributions, but sometimes visible rewards aren’t appropriate. There are three types of recognition visibility:
- Public: online newsfeed
- Group: In front of the employee’s team
- Private: employee/manager one-on-one
Encourage employees to adopt recognition by giving them high visibility. Consider what level of visibility will work in your organization, but remember that high visibility helps to reinforce the right behaviors by setting an example.
You won’t know if you have been successful unless you measure the results of your employee recognition program. During the planning stages, decide what will be measured. Consider whether you have created an engaged, aligned workforce, and whether this has had an impact on business results.
Employee recognition programs need to involve more than a sticker for a perfect score, but remember that the effect is similar. In order to engage your workforce, they need to understand that their contributions are valued and will be rewarded.
Interested in finding out more about how to create an employee recognition strategy? Download The Ultimate Guide to Employee Recognition.