As we enter a new year, your organization may also be implementing a new recognition strategy. We all know what it takes to make a recognition program successful - employee participation. Last January, Roy Saunderson, Chief Learning Officer at our sister company, Rideau, shared strategies for getting employee buy-in on your programs and hitting the ground running. Here, we offer his blog "How To Get Employees to Use Your Recognition Programs."
You have a great recognition platform set up with various peer-to-peer and manager driven recognition programs. The launch and kick-off you designed and started was perfect. What happened next? Crickets.
Hardly anyone was using your recognition programs.
What can you do, or what should you have done to begin with, to ensure greater participation by employees in using your recognition programs?
Where You Should Start
Knowing the result you have in mind is employees regularly and consistently using your employee recognition programs, tells you the place where you need to start.
Get them involved right from the get go. Explain why you want to set up recognition programs. Tell them what the purpose and intention is for having everyone involved.
Share with them what you think the benefits are of participation with your recognition programs.
Now step back and get your employee’s input. Ask them questions about how they feel about recognition right now and solicit ideas for how to make recognition programs successful.
- How do they see technology driven recognition programs helping?
- What features would they see as essential in a well-designed recognition program?
- Do they have any concerns or questions?
- What barriers do they foresee in using recognition programs?
- Have them identify the benefits that could come from using recognition programs.
Set the Expectation for Everyone
People will always do what someone expects them to do, and especially when they know why.
Set a standard for leaders and managers to exemplify how frequently they express recognition to peers and employees. Employees will be more willing to recognize their peers and others when their immediate supervisor or manager recognizes them. Then it’s a matter of employees “following the leader”.
Show Them How To Use the Programs
Show everyone how to give recognition through the different recognition programs. Provide regular orientation sessions where you demonstrate the various programs to staff.
Suggest that employees not only like comments made by others on your social recognition program. Recommend that they actually add a positive comment too.
Make your recognition programs your first place to visit each day. Check out who has a birthday or if someone has a career milestone to acknowledge. And, at the end of the day, revisit the program sites and consider who made a difference to you in your work that you haven’t acknowledged today, and send them an eCard.
Continually communicate about recognizing one another using video, emails, newsletters, posters, etc. Give positive shout outs to people who are living the company values or showing great customer service. Provide resources for employees and managers alike on how to be more effective with giving recognition.
Act on the Outcomes from Recognition Programs
There is always great information gleaned from the data of HR technology programs and employee recognition programs are no different. Tell your employees that you intend to act upon the results obtained from using recognition programs to improve overall recognition behaviors and program usage.
You can discover from the program reports which employees are receiving the most recognition expressions. You can also learn which employees, whether staff position or management, are using the programs most effectively.
Find out the reasons that people are being recognized for. Is it for living your corporate values? Perhaps it’s for achieving significant performance results? Or maybe for assisting with achieving a strategic initiative? Did an employee contribute significantly in the community? And maybe an employee just showed genuine care and concern for others.
Knowing the data outputs from these various program metrics will allow you to:
- Find out if the people giving and receiving recognition connects with specific managers and the particular departments and teams people are from.
- Are we discovering the barriers to employees and managers from using the recognition programs?
- They can generate solutions to make the recognition programs more accessible to offline employees.
- Start detailed communication and education plans about your company’s values if people are rarely acknowledging peers for living them.
- Do the results show a specific value or two that never get acknowledged? Employees can suggest ways to correct this situation.
- Learn whether employees and managers know of the performance goals and targets expected of them.
- Should the program design be improved with better drop-down menus to make it easier to recognize people for reaching specific performance metrics?
- Is there a need to make the strategic initiatives clearer and more meaningful to front-line employees?
- Are we showing enough care and concern for our employees in both their positive and negative life experiences?
- Ask employees to submit graphic designs or images for eCards for the specific areas of recognition programs.
Recognition programs are evolutional and a continuous cycle of employee involvement, improvement, and redesign and development. By making the user experience a positive one from the start and continually listening to employee input, your recognition programs will always be a positive destination site for all employees.
Recognition Reflection: How do you actively get increased employee participation with your employee recognition programs?