An effective recognition program can improve retention while reinforcing key organizational values.
By Marta Chmielowicz
As the war for talent continues, employers are increasingly adopting human-centered approaches to drive business results and bring more humanity to employees’ experience at work. According to the 2018 SHRM and Globoforce Employee Recognition Report, retention and culture management are two of the top challenges of today’s businesses—and a values-based recognition program can help.
In fact, 80 percent of survey respondents say their organizations have an employee recognition program, and the majority say that this program helps with:
- organizational culture (85 percent);
- employee engagement (89 percent);
- employee relationships (86 percent); and
- organizational values (83 percent).
And values-based recognition has an even greater business impact; recognition programs tied to values are 1.5 times more likely to be rated “good”, and programs not tied to values are six times more likely to be rated “poor”. HR leaders have begun to realize this impact, choosing to design their recognition programs with values in mind in order to:
- empower employees to recognize and feel recognized across the organization (88 percent);
- create a positive employer brand (64 percent);
- reinforce and drive business goals (57 percent); and
- make recognition easier for employees (49 percent).
How can organizations create a recognition program that delivers on these benefits? Jeff Gelinas, vice president of product and people at Engage2Excel, recommends a four-step approach:
- Define the specific behaviors associated with company values. “Rather than simply stating the value, define the value and the behaviors associated with that value,” he says. “For example, if integrity is a value, specify the actionable behaviors associated with acting with integrity, such as doing the right thing even if nobody is watching you or not covering up bad news.”
- Provide recognition visibility. Gelinas suggests that organizations enhance the recognition experience socially through an intranet platform or leadership board.
- Use technology to ensure timeliness of the recognition moment. Research shows that more frequent and timely recognition is associated with better performance, more productive performance conversations, and a more supportive peer feedback environment.
- Adopt a rewards experience that’s meaningful and relevant. In the interest of cost savings, many organizations deliver recognition without a monetary reward. However, the study suggests that investing just 1 percent of total payroll can significantly improve results: Funded programs are 86 percent more likely to be rated as good or excellent.
Gelinas also suggests that organizations leverage their technology solutions to measure the performance of their recognition program and tailor it accordingly. “Today’s recognition and rewards providers provide reporting and analytics to measure program effectiveness. However, it’s important that employers survey employees to understand overall engagement levels throughout the organization and pinpoint improvement areas.”
Metrics like program participation by demographic, frequency of recognition given or received, and the source of recognition can be compared to employee engagement feedback in order to deliver a more personalized program that is customized to the needs of the organization and its employees.