Posted by Melissa Meunier on Thu, Jun 30, 2016 @ 03:00 PM

The technological advancements in recognition software are being adopted by HR teams across the world.  With the HR role stretched to included more and more responsibilities, this group is looking for ways to automate and assist with recognition initiatives and other strategic endeavors. From a simple system that sends out an email to a manager alerting them an employee is celebrating an anniversary next month to a complex system to support budgets with a tiered hierarchy, these tools are a way to complement and support the organization’s recognition strategies, not hinder or replace human communication.

Sure, we are not saying a “thank you” or a high five when walking down the hallway are not great examples of recognition without technology, we are saying technology can enhance it. Think of the companies that have 100’s or thousands of employees located across the globe.  With managers responsible for many people is it possible for someone to remember every single anniversary or witness every great job? The answer is probably no (and if you said yes, I need to meet you and learn your Jedi ways!). It is pretty straightforward; technology should enhance the experience by keeping people connected to the recognition event or moment and help deliver a better recognition moment to each employee while expanding and empowering all employees to use recognition.

Just as recognition comes in all shapes and sizes, it should occur from all different channels – teams, departments, peers and even customers – that is our take on social recognition (or social appreciation). Opening up the opportunity to recognize and be recognized across the organization can have a lasting impact on company culture, employee engagement, and performance by empowering employees to recognize their peers.

Organizations that can utilize recognition technology and encourage recognition from across the organization can see positive results. We all know from experience, not every program you initiate is going to be successful; some may need tweaking while others have a substantial impact.  In either case, having data that can report just what your program is or is not doing is a key to leveraging any recognition investment and reaping the benefits. Using analytics to evaluate the program’s progress and utilizing reports to measure predetermined metrics will demonstrate the impact the program is having, and that is the real measurement of results and success.

This year, organizations will spend $46 billion dollars on recognition. Many of these companies are not taking advantage of the technologies, social appreciation or analytics to help drive better results and measure their investments.  According to an Aberdeen research report, companies that invest in recognition see incredible benefits:

1. Top-tier recognition programs empower businesses to see their ROI first hand while simultaneously accomplishing what was initially intended - recognizing excellent work and motivating employees.
2. Best-in-class companies are 21% more likely to view recognition as extremely valuable for driving employee performance.
3. Best-in-class businesses are 22% more likely to consider recognition programs to be extremely valuable to their success.
4. Best-in-class companies are almost 2X's more likely to use technology-enabled, online social recognition tools (where recognition comes from more than one source - from managers, colleagues and even customers) to support and recognize their employees' efforts.
5. Best-in-class companies are 41% more likely than all others to empower employees to recognize each other for great work via peer-to-peer recognition technologies.

The report represents the results of companies that understand what employees want and are seeing a higher success rate when it comes to keeping their employees and driving performance. For those businesses that have little to no focus on employee recognition or engagement, they will most likely experience some retention challenges. Employees that do not receive the recognition or appreciation they believe they deserve generally will find it elsewhere. 

Realizing how recognition plays a significant role in the employee engagement puzzle is different for every organization. It is important to remember that employees want to be valued and giving employees a work experience where they are challenged and recognized in many cases speaks louder than the competitive salary or possible bonus. To stay competitive, companies that can bridge available technology, social recognition and use analytics to prove just how successful their programs are will have the advantage.

Learn more about measuring, managing and improving employee recognition in your organization by downloading our HR Thought Leadership Insight “Transforming Employee Recognition” here.

Topics: employee recognition, recognition programs