Employee Recognition Schemes – Why are they still hard to come by in some organisations?
It is a known fact that when employees are happy and feel their contribution to the business is being valued, productivity increases. So why is employee recognition still scarce within some organisations?
There are several reasons for this, which if thought about a little more, could make all the difference.
Firstly, let’s not assume that one style of recognition suits all employees.
Ava, the 18-year-old new starter, straight from school, may be really motivated by being given free tickets to the ice rink, but Geoff who is on daily countdown to his retirement probably couldn’t care less!
It’s examples like this where some Managers don’t actually know how to effectively recognise employees. Often, what seemed like a good idea, just ends up costing more money with performance remaining static.
How do we set about working on improving employee recognition?
There is a requirement for Manager’s to learn how to think more outside of the box and understand what actually motivates their employees. They need to consider different personality types, age groups and what makes certain people ‘tick’.
Ask a range of employees what they would like and give them options to choose from and by this I mean chose from all that is on offer. The last thing we want to do is start categorizing, i.e. under 25’s get alcohol and overs get a sewing kit, yes far-fetched, I know, but you get my meaning!
Firstly, as a Manager, you need to decide on what the end goal is. What do you want to achieve by giving recognition?
I would suspect that the answer to this is somewhere along the lines of; to increase the feel good factor amongst the employees, which in turn should lead to greater outputs.
Goals need to be created following an initial action plan where thought has been put into what actions, approach and behaviours will actually enhance your business.
Any recognition programme needs to be clear, fair and consistent ensuring all employees understand the rules or terms of the programme. Eligibility criteria needs to be fully understood otherwise the desired outcome has the potential to then be turned on its head.
Our Guide To Effective Employment Recognition Schemes
1. Avoid rewarding just the highest achiever, instead, try and set goals that if several people all achieve over that goal, many get rewarded. Otherwise, if you consistently have a top performer gaining all the glory, all of the time.
2. The aim of the recognition programme will fall flat and probably end up with just one contender, and three guesses as to who that will be.
3. Keep changing the programme so it is different every few months, focusing on different goals so that your recognition doesn’t become stale or worse still, just an expectation!
For example, if employees are allowed to finish early every Friday every time they exceed a target, the early finish then becomes an expectation or almost viewed as an entitlement, resulting in it no longer being looked at as a reward.
In addition to this, if an employee doesn’t then receive the expected reward, this more than likely will invite negativity and demotivation with open arms, having the opposite effect to the one you wanted.
4. Be very clear as to why any award has been achieved, as the whole purpose behind this is to reinforce what you want to see more of as well as providing the most powerful form of feedback you can give.
5. Don’t just reward for the number of extra hours that an employee has done, explain that because of their extra hours, your backlog has now been reduced from 10 days to 2, for example. Let the employee understand the true impact of their effort.
6. Ensure the reward is timely, i.e. more or less straight away when the employee is feeling positive and that they are adding value to your business, not given 3 months later, when the impact has been lost.
7. More importantly, get to know your employees, understand what will motivate them towards achieving the company goals and how they will best react to the feedback. For example, some employees do not like a fuss, they want to be rewarded quietly whereas others wish they were on stage.
Finally, if you are unsure about all answers to your questions, then ask your employees prior to you writing your action plan. The success of your scheme will be reliant on answering 2 key questions – What do they want? What makes them feel good?