Employee reward and recognition provider Michael C. Fina’s chief business development officer Jeffrey Fina says “successful recognition programs include formal, informal, and daily recognition. Best practices in employee recognition in 2013 included incorporating all three types of recognition in a strategic way, as well as focusing dedicated efforts to recognition with project teams, budgets, and strong launches.” Let’s take a closer look.
Kevin Sheridan opens the first chapter of his book “Building a Magnetic Culture” with a quote by Henry Ford: “You can take my business, burn up my building, but give me my people and I’ll build the business right back again.” He discusses the benefits to employers who practice employee recognition. He talks about the trend of creating fun at work as part of actively building engagement into formal recognition, making employees want to come to work for more than the pay and benefits. Fina says formal recognition programs include seniority awards and President’s Awards to recognize efforts that are above and beyond the job description. Formal recognition can focus on any aspects of your business critical to success: great service, innovation, quality or collaboration.
Informal recognition, also known as spot-recognition, also includes peer-to-peer recognition nominations. Michigan State University advises employers and managers to make informal recognition consistent, meaningful, and spontaneous. Good advice for all of us. The University recommends that informal recognition be delivered with four principles in mind:
- If-Then Principle – If an employee meets or exceeds expectations, then deliver a reward.
- ASAP Principle – Don’t wait or delay rewards. Give them when good performance occurs.
- Variety Principle – Don’t standardize rewards for informal recognition. Vary the rewards to keep interest and excitement.
- Sometimes Principle – Giving awards sometimes also stimulates interest in continuing good performance
Daily recognition includes things like saying “thank you” or sending an email sharing your thanks for a job well done, greeting someone when they come in to work, or asking for a quick opinion. It’s part of daily interactions and should include friendliness, respect and gratitude to make people feel good at work and about the company.
Recognition Project Teams
Best practices in 2013 included forming cross-functional recognition project teams to share and plan what kind of recognition to provide and when and how to provide it. Employees want to be heard even as it relates to recognition. Putting a project team together specifically for recognition demonstrates commitment and dedication to employee recognition, and facilitates implementation and sustainability.
Common formulas and metrics for 2013 recognition budgets included percentages of compensation or achievement, with the median recognition budget equal to one to two percent of total payroll. This can be misleading though, because many forms of recognition are very low or no cost, so hard budgets don’t impact them. Regardless of your budget size, be sure to include lots of low or no-cost recognition activities in your 2014 plan.
Launching Recognition Programs
If 2014 is your year to launch a recognition program, be sure employees have been involved in the planning, and managers and higher-ups take ownership and participate at every step. We wish you much success!
For more best practice suggestions for building an 2014 Workplace Recognition Plan, be sure to download our guide to Employee Gift-Giving.
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