Employee Recognition is about reinforcement of employee actions, efforts, behavior, or performance that supports organizational strategy. Recognition acknowledges or gives special attention to employee actions, efforts, or behavior and performance that supports the organizational strategy by reinforcing certain behaviors. These behaviors my include extraordinary accomplishments that contribute to organizational success. These programs can be either formal or informal. Employee recognition continues to be top of mind as employers strive to differentiate themselves as an employer of choice and solve a variety of business challenges.

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Variety is key to recognition. Organizations have different needs. Some need to increase retention in a specific business unit or type of job while others need to support innovative thinking. One organization may find that recognition will help it to address a very specific individual performance issue. Another may determine that an overall culture of recognition will be better to contribute to organizational success. Yet another company may seek to accomplish all of the above by offering a full pallet of recognition opportunities. What’s common among all organizations is the challenge of satisfying a variety of intrinsic and extrinsic employee needs in order to attract, motivate, and retain a talented productive workforce. This is likely to be a key to business success.

Recognition Programs Are Key

Recognition programs can be the key to motivating employees and driving organizational results. According to a new survey, trends in employee recognition remain an important component with 89% of organizations having programs in place. Also, with 67% of organizations offering between three and six different programs. 4.6 is the average number of programs. According to a 2015 report, the top five recognition programs have remained the same since 2013. These include length of service at 87%, above and beyond performance at 76%, programs to motivate specific behaviors at 51%, peer to peer recognition at 48%, and finally retirement at 34%.

HR Basics

Planning is used in recognition to ensure motivation, engagement and retention of high performing employees. Using this planning process, you can develop core elements of a recognition plan. Strategy is an extension of an organization’s mission; a bridge between the organization and its environment. Goals are a statement of desired outcome towards which effort is directed to realize your recognition plan. And finally actions are the most important things that can be done to reach stated goals. Employees not only want good paying benefits. They also want to be treated fairly to make a substantial contribution to the organization through their work and to be valued and appreciated for their efforts

Thank Employees For Their Achievements

Many employers implement ongoing recognition programs designed to thank employees for a variety of achievements. Among the most common programs are those that recognize length of service, exemplary one-time achievement, and noteworthy performance over a period of time. Although organizations typically recognize employees, length of service, milestones, and instances of strong individual or team performance, any organizations are beginning to focus on other less traditional areas of recognition. Among them are the ability to manage or champion change and innovation systems improvement, customer retention, significant development and actions that embody the organization’s core values.

Sometimes, employees may not be as motivated as others by an organization’s incentives. Organization should offer a variety of incentives and recognition opportunities to meet various employee needs. For recognition programs to be effective, they should meet several criteria. The program should be well-funded, aligned with organizational goals, appropriate for employees achievement, and timely

Recognition Programs Need To Be Well-Funded

The key to success for a recognition program is management’s commitment of resources during the budgeting process for the year ahead. The organization should earmark funds for the program and establish methods for distributing those funds. Managers must dedicate the resources including the time it takes to plan and execute a program. They must enable employees and supervisors to run the program. Through this process, managers can see the distribution is fair and equitable and the money allocated is immediately available to fund programs.

Once it’s announced to employees, programs need to be aligned with goals and values. Recognition programs are most successful when they’re aligned with the organization’s mission, vision, values, and goals. Employees can tell if there is a clear connection between what management says is important and what actually is important.

Programs Need To Be Appropriate

Employees must understand the rationale for recognition programs and should be convinced that the awards are in line with the achievement. If employees feel that their work is trivialized or even insulted by inconsequential incentives or insincere gestures of appreciation, the program will have the opposite intended effect. awards should be consistent with the employee’s achievement and meaningful to the person receiving it.

Programs Need To Be Timely

The reward or recognition should be delivered as close as possible to the time of the desired behavior to strengthen the link between the employees action, and the result. Organization management is about getting employee recognition done right through planning, organizing, leading, and controlling.

The entire recognition process should be managed with a minimum of administrative effort, a system that requires excessive management control, complex financial calculations or exceptional employee efforts to be understood will not likely achieve its desired results.

Provide A Clear Written Policy

Employers should provide a clear written policy and guidelines describing the recognition program and its terms. These guidelines may include employee eligibility requirements, the approval process, the types of awards that will be provided, the frequency of award presentations, the performance goals that will be measured, and the threshold for awards.

Recognition programs must be monitored continually for relevance. Employers should consider asking the following questions when evaluating their programs:

  • Are the programs or awards fair and appropriate.
  • Are the programs, objectives being met?
  • Are there appropriate levels of communication?
  • Do employees find the program meaningful
  • What should be done differently?

Few managers are naturals at carrying out employee recognition and awards programs. Most need to acquire skills related to recognizing employee contributions and giving effective feedback and praise. All managers should be trained to do the following:

  • Help employees understand the impact their performance has on the organization.
  • Explain how the program works and how employees can achieve recognition.
  • Learn ways to motivate and inspire others.
  • Learn how to communicate needs, expectations and goals clearly
  • Deliver appreciation and praise in a sincere and timely manner.

Measure The Programs Value

Employee recognition programs should include a means of measuring the value they provide. Few organizations track the return on investment of their employee engagement or recognition programs. Those that do such tracking, however, generally use employee retention levels, overall financial results and employee productivity levels as KPIs. Programs should also be monitored continuously to keep them relevant and current. Among the questions that can help determine the program’s effectiveness are the following:

  • Are the rewards adequate fair, competitive, and appropriate?
  • Have the program’s objectives been met?
  • Do the programs have appropriate levels of communication?
  • Do employees find the program meaningful?
  • What changes should be made when employees and their work are valued?
  • Are employees motivated to maintain or improve their good work?

Praise and recognition are essential to an outstanding workplace. People want to be respected and valued by others for their contribution.