Employee recognition programs that have not kept pace with the needs and expectations of employees. are fast becoming irrelevant and ineffective for their organizations. However, there are ways that an organization can look, to revive a dying employee recognition program.
Today, employees prefer to work for organizations where their skills are utilized properly, where they feel engaged and appreciated, and where they see growth in their careers.
Hence, it is a must for organizations to have well-designed and effective employee recognition programs in place for their workforce.
Recognizing employees for their efforts and achievements is known to impact business growth and success significantly. Numerous studies have shown this:
94% of HR professionals believe that an effective rewards and recognition program helps drive business results besides enhancing employee retention, according to an HR study,
Having well-designed rewards and recognition programs helps to enhance average employee performance and efficiency by around 11%, according to research from Gunther
69% of employees are likely to work harder if their organization focuses on appreciating their efforts better and it also helps decrease the voluntary turnover rate by 31%, based on a report from Cicero.
Another study has revealed that nearly 47% of the employees surveyed stated that receiving personalized, performance-related, and spontaneous recognition helps them stay motivated.
A study from Gallup highlighted the fact that 83% of HR leaders believe that employee rewards and recognition programs go a long way in reinforcing organizational values and improving engagement.
Most organizations adopt a launch-and-forget approach toward their recognition programs.
Hence, they tend to ignore the various signs that might indicate that the recognition program is losing its effectiveness.
This might hurt the organizations in the longer run as the programs lose their impact significantly over time.
Here are key signs that organizations should look out for to assess if their recognition program is fading away.
It is the time for them to start looking for ways to revive the dying program:
When employees are not rewarded regularly for their efforts and contributions, they feel dissatisfied and undervalued.
Hence, a consistent decline in the key metrics of the recognition program over time should start ringing alarm bells for the organization.
A steady drop in key metrics such as the number of employees recognized, percentage of employees being recognized, or number of managers recognizing their team members.
Or managers repeatedly recognizing only specific employees.
Recognition being offered to employees even when they do not meet the predefined criteria, etc. is one of the leading indicators of problems in the program.
Additionally, organizations need to constantly analyze the performance of their recognition programs against industry benchmarking data.
The underperformance of the program on various key metrics vis-à-vis its industry peers is a good indication that the program might not be doing as well.
Hence, it needs to be acted upon without further delay.
An increasing mismatch between what employees expect from the recognition program and what the program has to offer is detrimental.
It can lead to poor employee satisfaction levels and eventually, poor participation rates.
Such dissatisfaction often comes out in employee pulse surveys, team meetings, exit interviews, etc.
It is critical to pay heed to such signs and take immediate action towards reviving the dying program.
Though there are multiple reasons for a drop in employee engagement levels, a fading employee recognition program could be one of the key causes for it.
Poor employee engagement might manifest itself in multiple ways.
Hence, a gradual dip in employee engagement might be a warning sign of a dying recognition program.
Low engagement might result in a lack of excitement about new projects and initiatives and discord with supervisors and co-workers.
Even reporting late to work, absenteeism, and even increasing attrition rate.
Once an organization has observed the above signs that their employee recognition is fading away, they need to take corrective actions to revive the dying program.
Here are 7 effective hacks to bring a dying employee recognition program back to life:
Organizations should establish of process of regularly updating the recognition categories, the criteria, and the monetary rewards.
This helps keep the program in sync with the changing employee expectations, business needs, and industry trends.
Importantly, introducing new criteria and categories regularly ensures that every employee gets a fair chance of being recognized for their unique skills and contribution to the organization.
This helps to increase the relevance of the program for the workforce and its impact on their motivation levels.
Increasingly, incorporating gamification elements in the recognition program goes a long way in reviving the interest levels of employees.
This can be achieved by introducing concepts such as reward points, a variety of redemption options, leaderboards, wall of fame, contests, and challenges to keep the recognition program exciting and engaging for the employees.
Gamification builds a healthy competitive environment within the workplace and boosts employee performance and productivity.
It also helps to make the recognition program much more connected with the business outcomes.
Recognizing employees and celebrating the key milestones such as birthdays, work anniversaries, weddings, and parenthood as a part of the recognition policy is another strategy that can help to revive a dying employee recognition program.
Such initiatives help assure the employees that the organization acknowledges the key moments in their personal lives and is keen to share their happiness.
It helps strengthen the sense of belongingness among employees.
An organization using a manual process for employee recognition or even an outdated digital platform; should consider replacing it with a modern system.
An effective employee recognition software comes with various advanced features. These include instant recognition, gamification, social media integration, and much more.
A good recognition platform can help incorporate various industry best practices in the program and align it with the changing recognition needs and expectations of the employees.
Such a platform can help the organization increase the effectiveness of the program in the short term and maintain it in the long run.
Regular communication and promotion of the employee recognition program at all levels and forums is critical to its success.
Organizations should also consider organizing employee appreciation days or weeks. Such events can create good visibility and excitement around the program and increase the participation of employees.
Moreover, these employee appreciation events can be aligned with relevant calendar events such as World Thank You Day, Employee Appreciation Day, or World Gratitude Day.
Supervisors should be encouraged to recognize their team members for their achievements and co-workers to express their gratitude towards each other.
Additionally, the social buzz around the employee recognition program can go a long way in reversing its decline.
Award ceremonies, integration with internal collaboration platforms, publishing recognition on company social media handles, etc. are a few ways in which social visibility of the program can be achieved.
One of the leading causes of the poor performance of an employee recognition program is the lack of involvement of the top management.
The active involvement of the top management lends significant credibility to the program and enhances its importance and interest in the eyes of the employees.
The top management should recognize and reward employees directly, and congratulate award winners on digital platforms.
Also, they should participate actively in award ceremonies whether online or offline.
It is well known that effective and timely employee recognition motivates the workforce and helps boost business growth and productivity. Hence, an organization needs to understand the warning signs and act quickly to revive a dying employee recognition program.
Lead author: Sagar Chaudhuri, the Co-Founder and CEO of HiFives. He is an HR Tech Evangelist with over 25 years of experience in the corporate world and entrepreneurship. In the past, Sagar has worked with companies such as Genpact, Infosys, and ICICI Bank, in leadership roles. He has an engineering degree from IIT Kharagpur and an MBA from IIM Lucknow. Connect on LinkedIn