Managing a Recognition Program

Currently, due to Covid-19 pandemic, many workers are working remotely.  To maintain motivation in these troublesome times recognition programs can help.  With current economic uncertainty, it is important to retain high-performing and high-potential employees, recognition programs are impactful for engagement, motivation, and retention.  Companies that can retain motivated employees and use this time to rethink work, will find a path of growth and prosperity post-pandemic.  In this article, you will find some key items to consider for a recognition program. 

Prioritize Employee Engagement 

Never underestimate the power of having good management, managers, and employees both need to be a part of the recognition program.  Recognition programs are basically engagement programs with different targets. Manager experience is as important as employee experience; however, their day-to-day work differs in scope, but manager engagement can be measured and fostered as well.  Some key indicators of a strong manager engagement are the following, communication with direct reports, time spent in meetings, and the quality of feedback from employees and leadership. Using performance management software like beepHR will help gage manager and employee engagement and recognition of both their reports and leadership.  

Beyond providing recognition beyond verbal and written recognition, offering official company rewards or points that can be earned as well for quality work, or when benchmarks are met also helps motivate people.  It incentivizes work while providing a means to reward and recognize workers as a soft “benefit” or work rewards system.  A rewards system could be used to offer health club memberships, membership cards, amazon gift cards, educational opportunities, etc.  Combining a system of rewards and soft “benefits” with employee engagement as a recognition program will help keep employees motivated and engaged.  But rewards and recognition alone are not enough, it must be combined with great management principles.  

Prioritize Open Management

LinkedIn conducted a study on employee retention found that over time retention generally decreases.  While this is not a novel discovery, they did find some novel discoveries about retention.  LinkedIn found that employees are more likely to stay with a company if management has higher rating versus lower ratings.  This is due to having great managers and leaders.  The more open management is the greater chance of retaining employees.  Basically, this is due to companies having a higher “trust” rating.  They also found that pay is not necessarily a reason an employee leaves.  The most striking item they found was that employees that can move into different positions within the company have higher than normal retention rates, this includes promotions and lateral moves.  Offering lateral moves for employees looking to change work roles is just as important as promoting employees.  

Recognition programs can help with retention, by helping identify employees that might be suited for a lateral move as well as a promotion. Rewards and recognition do not have to be tied to performance, but they can be tied to everyday work or interactions with other employees and departments.  Recognizing positive interactions such as when employees offer extra help outside of their own position or work role, helps promote a positive work culture and demonstrates a company is invested in more than just an employee’s “work”, but their whole authentic self.  Offering thanks or “like” when they have interactions outside normal work functions, show appreciation, and helps develop trust and communication among managers and employees.  These types of interactions also can help identify whether employees are suited or interested in making lateral moves when the promotion is not an option. 

Recognize Employees to Retain Talent

Employees that are publicly recognized stay with companies longer, according to a study by SurveyMonkey.  Employees that are “usually or always” recognized at work are more unlikely to seek out a new job within the next 3-6months. Recognition is a part of a company’s feedback and employee engagement.  The more engaged employees and management are the more likely companies can retain top talent.  

Open and honest communication plus rewarding and recognizing employees have benefits that affect a company’s bottom line.  However, a recognition and reward system must be fair and align with company goals and objectives. Perks or soft “benefits” need to be strategic and fair, they should not be mere occasional gifts or rewards, but built into a system of feedback and performance of some sort.  There must be a reason to recognize and reward an individual, in a non-biased way.  Using a point system for a rewards system would work best, as well as offering feedback, and a “thank you” works better.  

The Bottomline 

For HR professionals and leaders, improving employee retention and engagement directly leads to cost savings and improved productivity. According to a Work Institute report, the average turnover cost per employee is around $15,000.  The majority of the time, people left due to a lack of career development and poor management.  Many of the reasons people leave a company can be prevented.  The report argues that 78% of the reasons an employee leaves are preventable.  The key drivers of increasing retention are recognition, employee engagement, improving management, and open communication. 

beepHR, a New HR Evaluation Tool for Everyday Use
"Since HR evaluations are only checked when setting and reviewing goals, employees tend to lose their sight of goals during their day-to-day operations. Often employees are working at cross purposes because they are not aware of their tasks linked to their goals."
beepHR allows employees to see how well they accomplished their goals, encourage their colleagues by sending “likes” and “thank you(s)” freely, while enabling them to keep track of their tasks. Getting in the habit of using a daily HR evaluation tool will help to make more accurate evaluations.
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