In today’s competitive business environment, a company must have employees who are actively engaged in the business and inspired to make the organization the best that it can be.
Unfortunately, research shows that over 70% of employees are not actively engaged in their organizations.
The fact is that many people are unhappy with their current employment situation to the point that they don’t feel good about their jobs or themselves.
This is a sad situation considering work represents close to 50% of our waking hours.
The failure of engagement is one of those situations where it is 80% management at fault and 20% employee at fault.
Management cannot motivate or engage employees.
Management can only create the environment for motivation and engagement.
Then, it is up to the employees to rise to the occasion and choose to be an active participant in the organization and its mission.
A formal Recognition Program is a key component of this strategy to motivate and engage employees.
It is our belief that one of the defining factors of an organization is how it recognizes and rewards its employees.
When most people hear the term “recognition,” they often think of monetary/tangible recognition such as bonuses, gifts, tickets, trips, etc.
However, the most powerful form of recognition for the vast majority of employees is non-monetary/social recognition such as thank you notes, verbal praise in front of peers, additional responsibilities, simple acknowledgement of a job well done, etc.
Our Recognition Program utilizes monetary and non-monetary incentives with a heavy emphasis on the intangible or non-monetary rewards.
Yes, it is true that bonuses, gift cards, and other tangible rewards are important, but if a culture is built on these rewards, then there is a strong tendency for people to do work based on selfish or “what’s in it for me” attitudes.
We routinely construct Recognition Programs for companies that are designed around the social recognition that allows employees to enhance their self-worth and buy-in to the values, mission, and culture of the company.
In fact, we recommend to clients, at a minimum, a ratio of non-monetary to monetary recognition of 20:1.
It is our position that recognition should be deliberate and systematic and not left to chance or “when I feel like it.”
This means that recognition must become a daily top-of-mind activity of every manager.
The key components of the social recognition aspects of our Recognition Program are:
- Identifying the work and interpersonal values and behaviors that the company wants employees to exhibit.
- Identifying examples and developing stories that make the values and behaviors “come to life.”
- Teaching managers how to express performance expectations in terms of values and behaviors.
- Instructing managers how to say “thank you” and give verbal praise in a genuine and sincere manner that reinforces core values or behaviors.
- Training employees to take an active role in helping their manager recognize them via a unique tool for capturing their exemplary actions.
- Providing guidance to employees to help them appreciate and recognize their peers and supervisors in order create a culture of recognition, as expressing appreciation is not just a “one way street” of manager to employee.
- Making recognition a part of every manager’s performance expectations.
Our Recognition Program also addresses monetary recognition for non-sales employees, as salespeople need to be dealt with separately regarding commissions and incentives.
Monetary recognition is largely dependent on the finances of the organization.
However, finances aside, we offer the following thoughts to companies when establishing tangible recognition.
There are 2 components to monetary recognition:
- Individual Rewards
- Group Rewards
The first consideration is that a company always wants to avoid a situation that pits employees against one another for limited resources.
When employees are “working for themselves” rather than “working for the team,” they tend to keep their winning techniques to themselves, rather than sharing them with the team.
This is one of the reasons that merit pay programs are so divisive in organizations.
Having stated this, there are certain teams, professionals, and managers in an organization that should receive monetary rewards for completion of specific strategic goals.
Aside from individual recognition for completion of specific strategic goals, it is our recommendation that most incentives should be group rewards – “if the company wins, we all win” philosophy.