Total Recognition Takes Top Priority

Posted by Melissa Meunier on Mon, Mar 16, 2015 @ 11:00 AM

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In our 5 Recognition Trends for 2015 eBook, we share our employee recognition insights and what your organization can do to see results. This is the third installment of a five-part blog series that covers each trend and its effect on employee engagement.


Trend No. 3 — Total Recognition Takes Top Priority

For most organizations, recognition practices have not changed much in last five to ten years, yet the workforce and the economy have. Chances are you have a few solid programs but are they engaging your employees or impacting your business in a positive way?

To succeed at employee engagement, employers must understand what recognition and reward options employee’s value most and how those options support corporate initiatives.  While benefits and other incentives round out a total reward strategy, the types of programs offered play a major factor in keeping employees engaged and employed at your organization.

At the same time, a new generation of workers – as well as some in your current workforce – appreciates a fully rounded recognition program. A total recognition strategy that embraces all three types of recognition – performance, career, and social – makes sure your employees are recognized and engaged across the board.  

When starting a new recognition initiative, take the following steps:

1. Start with your corporate goals and desired outcomes. In a WorldatWork study on Trends in Employee Recognition, the Top 5 Recognition Goals amongst those surveyed are:

  • Recognize years of service
  • Create a positive work environment
  • Create a culture of recognition
  • Motivate high performance
  • Reinforce desired behaviors

2. Identify the specific behaviors required to meet those goals.  As an organization, what behaviors do you want to see your employees demonstrating?

  • Partnership
  • Innovation
  • Courage
  • Passion
  • Teamwork
  • Other

3. Determine which elements or programs can support your overall business objectives. Every organization has a diverse group of individuals that are motivated in different ways and by different things. We find that a total recognition program encompasses elements that reward excellence (performance), recognize milestones (career) and connect work & life (social).

According to WorldatWork, the Top 10 Recognition programs list has seen little movement until recently. Programs to motivate specific behaviors moved into the top five for the first time. 

Top 10 Recognition Programs

  • Length of service
  • Above-and-beyond performance
  • Peer-to-peer
  • Programs to motivate specific behaviors
  • Retirement
  • Sales performance
  • Employee of the year, month
  • Suggestion/ideas
  • Safety performance
  • Major family event (e.g., birth, wedding, etc.)

A valuable and often-missed part of a total recognition strategy is analyzing existing programs for impact.  While some organizations might explore moving away from legacy programs, there is merit to invigorating a sluggish program so it aligns with the current goals of the organization. Take the most prevalent award program existing in companies today, the Length-of-Service program.  This program is an essential part of a recognition strategy and recognizes your loyal employees. So why would you want to get rid of it?  You don’t, it probably just needs a reboot.  The highly diverse workforce of today still wants to be acknowledged for their loyalty but just differently than their predecessors. It’s important that essential legacy programs like LOS remain in your strategy but evolve and represent the newer generations in the workforce.

Total recognition must inspire, encourage, and engage your workforce to participate and work together toward a common goal while initiating and sustaining engagement from an employee’s first day throughout their entire career with your organization. Length-of-service recognition should continue, and you should supplement that with performance, wellness, and even social recognition initiatives to give your employees a total recognition experience. This combination of recognition programs means you’ll be sure to engage with your employees across the organization.

Topics: Recognition Trends, Employee Engagement, total recognition, top recognition programs, recognition initiatives

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