Gamification, all-encompassing rewards, and a personalized touch all play a role in a successful approach.

By Debbie Bolla

Recognition programs have been lauded for years for the measurable impact they have on the workforce. In fact, Gallup and Workhuman finds that employees who receive great recognition are 20 times as likely to be engaged compared to those who don’t. So, what makes for great recognition? 

“Strong recognition programs will acknowledge different team or individual accomplishments as they occur and involve some level of personalization, extending beyond traditional monetary rewards,” explains Kristen McGill, chief people officer of ZayZoon. “These programs should resonate with the preferences and values of employees, as different individuals are motivated by different forms of recognition.” 

According to LinkedIn, there are several considerations. First, it’s important to understand the workforce. Different employees will have different preferences, and by using tools such as surveys, pulse interviews, and feedback mechanisms, HR will have a better understanding of what motivates their workers. Armed with this information, programs can be developed to suit the needs of all workers. HR will benefit by offering all-encompassing programs that include: 

  • both formal and informal recognition; 
  • monetary and non-monetary rewards; 
  • public and private acknowledgements; and 
  • manager and peer-to-peer recognition. 

A mix of awards often drives employee engagement within the program, delivering that sought-after impact. “Employers can leverage public appreciation, performance-based bonuses, or experiential rewards like additional vacation days, unique experiences, and PTO for personal development,” suggests McGill. 

The programs should be designed to reinforce positive behaviors. What gets recognized gets repeated with83% of HR leaders reporting that recognition plays an important role in strengthening company values. With this in mind, recognition and reward programs should align with the organization’s mission and strategic objectives. 

Strong programs should also be based on a business’s core values, with clear objectives and active participation from team members at all levels. Leadership involvement is crucial to reinforce the importance of recognition and develop a positive workplace culture that acknowledges and celebrates employees’ contributions,” says McGill. “At ZayZoon, we give teammates shout-outs every day based on our core values of trust, mastery, hustle, and being people-driven to bring our culture to life.” 

Game On 

Research shows that gamification inspires employees to work harder and can be an integral part of a recognition program. According to The Octalysis Group, gamified employee recognition programs mix gaming features with recognition and rewards to amplify 

engagement, motivation, and performance. By applying game-design elements like points, badges, leaderboards, and levels to workplace activities and objectives, gamification makes recognizing others fun and habit-forming, encouraging employees to do it more frequently. The approach encourages intrinsic motivations, like competition, achievement, and social recognition. Some results organizations will experience include increased engagement, improved motivation, enhanced collaboration, better performance, and higher retention, finds The Octalysis Group.  

Tags: HR News/North America, News, News Ticker, Recognition & Rewards

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