by Kyla Camille Nievera, Executive Chronicles |
One of the biggest challenges in setting up an effective employee recognition program is determining what not to recognize. If the scope is too broad, the recognition program becomes unwieldy — difficult to manage, expensive to manage, and worst of all, so diluted with details that it loses its power to engage and motivate employees. With this in mind, company leaders get the best results when they create a program with a strategic focus most consistent with company organizational performance goals. The three strategies we’ll discuss in this article are among the most popular — and effective.
Sales Recognition Programs
Virtually every company has a lot to gain by rewarding excellent sales performance, since sales usually has the most direct impact on top-line (and often bottom-line) results. However, sales recognition programs can also backfire if they are not designed properly, which opens the door to a direct negative impact on results. Issues to think about carefully:
- Does your program reward sales of strategically important products/services, or does it reward sales that have little strategic impact or are counterproductive?
- Does everyone involved have an opportunity to win? Winner-take-all programs can have a negative effect on employee morale.
- Are employees outside the sales team involved? If so, the engagement effect can go far beyond sales personnel.
- Is the program simple enough to be quickly understood? If the formula for getting recognition is too complicated, sales people may not even try to figure it out — and even if they win, may not understand exactly why.
In manufacturing operations, safety is extremely important for profitability — to say nothing of the profound human benefits that accrue from a safe work environment. When safety is an important factor, making it front and center in the employee recognition program makes all the sense in the world:
- A recognition program, consistently and enthusiastically supported by company leadership, cannot help but raise safety awareness across the entire organization.
- A safety-driven recognition program facilitates peer-to-peer assessments, which are often far more motivating than top-down recognition programs. (See the accompanying infographic for a few more details on this point.)
- The positive impact of improved safety ripples through the entire organization — greater productivity, reduced/manageable health care costs, improved product quality and customer service, better ability to recruit and retain top talent, and strengthened reputation, to name a few of the most important.
Speaking of health care costs, there is not a company in the world that does not benefit from a healthier workforce. For service companies and other non-manufacturing or light-manufacturing operations, focusing recognition on wellness brings about the same broad organizational benefits offered by a safety program. Important things to consider here:
- An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as we all know. Programs that reward positive behavior — dieting, quitting smoking, eating healthier exams, scheduling physical exams, etc. — set the foundation for a healthier, happier workforce and more manageable health care. While nothing is guaranteed in health care, not taking preventive action is generally too expensive a risk for any organization to take.
- Wellness programs, especially preventive ones, lend themselves to stories —about how an employee radically improved his/her life by shedding pounds, how a company veteran started looking like a new hire after going to the gym for 12 months, etc. Wellness stories are dramatic, and drama makes communication of the program powerful. It’s a recognition option that hits employees where they live, and thus inspires them to get involved.
For more context on the importance of employee recognition programs, and ideas for how to effectively design and implement them, take a look at the accompanying infographic.
A Guide to
Employee Recognition created by RPG Card Services