Recognition and reward programs have an inclination to get on autopilot, with a few star employees and top sales people praised by management the same time every year as crystal trophies collect on a handful of desks. But as a new breed of employee enters the workforce—one the values recognition and rewards for a job well done—companies are starting to turning to these programs as a way to keep their entire staff motivated, satisfied, and productive.
Designing an Employee Recognition Program Where Everyone Wins
The first step in redesigning our recognition program was to look at our mission of creating meaningful connections, and our values of being an owner and helping others. Using those established principles, we created a recognition and reward program, the Outstanding Employee Awards, which served to recognize our staff. This program also brought them closer together through the peer-to-peer nomination style while shedding light on the behaviors of our most successful employees. The results were outstanding. We had almost 600 submissions from across our company and an engagement rate that more than doubled our goal. And not only did the winners feel great, but their peer nominators felt heard and involved as well.
Here are some ways that you can use your company’s culture to establish a robust program to recognize and reward your employees and involve everyone, not just an exclusive few “usual suspects”:
Support peer-to-peer recognition. Employees are the ones that see the day-to-day accomplishments and success of their peers — especially those who are behind the scenes and might not have lots of public exposure. It not only inspires more collaboration and connection among employees, but colleague recognition can make a larger impact than manager recognition (not to mention it’s 35% more likely to have a financial impact than manager recognition).
Involve a community aspect. Millennials want more than just a job that pays the bills. Instead, they are looking for purpose and expect the companies they work for to give back to the community in one way or another. Including a volunteer day is an easy way to make employees feel good about themselves and their company.
Connect them with leadership. In large, global companies, employees can feel pretty disconnected from the executive team. A chance to spend some time with them outside of the office can go a long way to making an employee feel special.
Give them a break. In this digital era, workers tend to work around the clock, even on what should be a stress-free vacation. This can lead to serious work fatigue, so encourage them to shut down the laptops, stay off their emails for a few days, and get some R&R.
Look past cliché team activities. Bringing your employees together for a day of fun is a great way to connect them, especially if your company believes that real innovation comes from collaboration. Encourage group or team activities that they wouldn’t usually do, but be sure to look past the ‘team building’ trust falls and look to a unique experience that bring them closer together. And you may just uncover some hidden talents and skills that could be valuable to the whole company.
Above all, stay true to your culture. Before your company launches into a recognition and reward program thinking that it’s the way to reboot unmotivated employees, it’s important to keep in mind how a program like this would fit into your own company’s culture.