Thinking of launching or refreshing your internal Reward and Recognition (R&R) program? Read this first….
Many organisations will use the start of the new financial year to refresh and re-engage their teams around reward and recognition. Getting this right is important to its success and ensuring it’s not a detractor from employee engagement.
The key to a solid R&R program is understanding what you are trying to achieve, rewarding and recognising the right behaviours, and applying consistency across the program and organisation to maintain its credibility.
This article focuses specifically on the importance of recognition and the impact that effective recognition can have on an individual and the wider organisation.
Employee recognition is acknowledgement of an individual or team’s achievements which have supported the organisations goals or demonstrated key behaviours and values which are above and beyond expectations.
Let’s look at the benefits of an R&R program and how to set yours up for success.
Benefits of a Reward and Recognition Program
A well-executed program can reduce turnover. Research conducted by global engagement agency BI Worldwide in 2016, found that staff turnover is 18% less likely among employees whose efforts are ‘adequately’ recognised.
Recognition leads to motivation and motivated workers have higher retention rates. When employers recognise the talents and skills of employees, the individual employees experience a higher level of job satisfaction.
Recognition can have a positive impact on productivity. When efforts (above and beyond baseline expectations) are recognised, this can lead to an increase in productivity from not only the individual that was recognised, but from peers and people throughout the organisation. Employees who observe and understand the ‘Why’ behind the recognition are often then motivated to emulate this behaviour in pursuit of recognition.
The recognition through these programs is an opportunity to say “This is what excellent looks like, this is what we want to see. These are the characteristics we want amongst our team”.
It’s a powerful way to send positive messages throughout the organisation.
Beyond individual recognition, the recognition of teams can help teams’ bond through shared success and support future collaboration.
Something valuable to note is that recognition programs tied to organisational values are perceived to outperform other programs on every metric evaluated. (Global Force, Employee Recognition Survey, 2016)
Elements of a good Reward and Recognition program
Clarity is critical to the success of any R&R program. Develop a clear view and articulate to employees what specifically is reward and recognition worthy.
Linking the program to the organisational values as opposed to productivity outcomes will encourage the acknowledgement of the right behaviours as well as embed the values critical to the organisation. Incentives for productivity outcomes, while important, can be captured through annual remuneration reviews as well as bonus or commission programs. The purpose here is to reward the often-intangible impact.
Encourage recognition from a 360 perspective. The traditional top down, manager to team member relationship doesn’t always exist; more and more, we are seeing teams working in hybrid environments and clusters, where subject matter experts are leading projects within their peer group. As a result, peer recognition is an important source of feedback, of course with validation as with all feedback. Peer to peer recognition can help to build team bonds and encourage groups working on future projects and assignments.
Critical to implementing and working with an employee recognition program is the employees’ perception of fairness and equality in the recognition within the workplace. One way to manage this perception is to encourage employees to be a part of the program and gain buy-in through participation in the establishment of and facilitation of the program. Employees will value a program where they believe there is fairness and equality in the recognition across the organisation. Overcoming this is the make or break of the recognition program. If you have a program and you believe this to be an issue, consider engaging employees to review and work together on fixing it to ensure fairness and equity is maintained.
Ten thoughts to support your Reward and Recognition program
1. Organisational Engagement. Ensuring that all levels understand the importance of recognition and how to effectively recognise employees and peers.
2. Clearly define the expectations and what it is that you are trying to achieve. This message needs to be consistent from the top and through all levels of the organisation.
3. Link recognition to corporate values
4. Make the feedback and recognition as timely as possible. Determine the time frames in which you will publish and communicate the recognition.
5. Be authentic in the delivery of the recognition, consider how it can be used as an engagement tool and avoid where you can, the use of automatic or scripted messages and emails. Consider what method will have the biggest impact on the employee and the wider business.
6. Don’t rely on monetary gifts, consider the value of sentiments and verbal recognition. Not all recognition needs to have a monetary value.
7. Encourage participation. Ensure the recognition is proactively encouraged will help to see participation at all levels. Consider the ongoing engagement plan and how to maintain momentum throughout the year.
8. Report on the use of the program. For leaders and managers, develop reporting tools to show where the program is being utilised and where there may be an area of opportunity to re-engage the teams. Visibility is key for the leaders to support.
9. Review the program periodically and ensure that it is still achieving the initial goal. Adjust accordingly.
10. Find ways to involve the employees in the creation and delivery of the program.
Recognition is a powerful tool to engage and motivate individuals, team and organisations. Take the time to review and renew your programs and seek feedback from your teams. Your employees are your best promoters of these programs when executed with fairness and equality.