There are many things the current pandemic has affected, especially when it comes to how companies use their recognition and reward programs. While recognition in its purest form is essential, rewarding employees in many organizations has been reduced as companies are tightening the reigns on spending. People have asked for guidance on how to communicate to their teams the need to prioritize no or low-cost recognition options versus the use of rewards given the financial reality, so there is no negative viewpoint.
Give People the Big Picture
Awareness is often regarded as 60 percent of the solution. Be transparent with your employees as to the financial constraints your organization is facing. Let them know the organization's current state and the anticipated time length for which cutbacks will be in place. Highlight the importance of continuing to recognize one another for all that they do to keep things going.
Show and tell your employees how to use the various recognition programs available to them that are non-monetary. Give them tips and ideas on how they can be more effective by using various principles and behaviors for giving meaningful recognition.
Educate on Recognition Effectiveness
This is a great time to have everyone collaborate and share how they are using the recognition programs to learn from those who seem to have a natural gift for doing recognition the right way.
Here are some quick ideas to encourage your employees to do:
Idea #1: Comments Plus Like
If your organization uses a social recognition program that has a social newsfeed where individuals write positive comments about the amazing behaviors and actions of employees, suggest they add comments along with liking what others have said. The key here is to go beyond liking things and teach people that adding comments gives greater meaning to what others have said.
Idea #2: Two-Part Specificity Rule
Explain to employees how to be more specific in their social newsfeed comments, writing out eCards, and sending in award nominations.
What is the Two-Part Specificity Rule?
The first part of being specific is to tell a person you are recognizing specifically what behavior or positive action you are recognizing them for. This idea stops you from saying, “good job” or “well done”, which are trite and meaningless.
The second part of the Two-Part Specificity Rule is to be specific about the impact or difference the individual’s actions had on you, a customer, a peer or the organization. Many individuals go about their regular work without realizing their contribution and the difference they make.
Idea #3: Positive Words Mean Everything
It would also be important to encourage employees to use more positive word choices with their spoken or written expressions of recognition. It would surprise many of us to know that according to research on human communication, that 50 percent of our vocabulary is negative in nature, with only 30 percent seen as positive words, and 20 percent considered neutral.
For example, when we say the words “good job,” the use of the word “good” is a neutral word and not the positive word we thought it was. And the word “job” is not only neutral but unspecific as to what someone did. That’s why saying something like, “Thank you for the amazing work you did facilitating the phone meeting today with ABC company,” is far more meaningful than just saying, “Good job on the call today.”
As an organization, you may have to cut back on or eliminate rewards for some time. But the one thing you never have to stop doing is recognizing people for their positive efforts, growth, and personal contributions. All you need to do is add better quality and more frequent recognition.