A Beginner's Guide to Recognition Scheme Best Practice

So, perhaps you’re deciding that your organisation could really benefit from an employee recognition scheme. Fantastic!

Statistically, businesses that show appreciation to their employees have better overall performance results.

For your efforts to succeed, however, it’s important to observe some best practice guidelines…

Align your recognition scheme with your business goals

Your business exists to generate revenue or serve the needs of a community. Awarding recognition to employees needs to affirm the kind of behaviour that gets you closer to this goal.

Keeping staff engaged and motivated will increase productivity and boost retention, saving you money and time in training new staff members. Creating a corporate culture that recognises positive behaviour and rewards high performers creates a much more collaborative and inclusive environment.

If you advertise certain incentives with the job role you are offering, you have to ensure that you can fulfill those promises to keep employees in the long term. If you promised a free gym membership after a probation period, you should follow up when the time comes.

The type of recognition and how often you give it

When you recognise an employee’s hard work, what you are really saying is, “Thank you for your hard work! We’re definitely noticing, so keep it up!” This shouldn’t necessarily be expressed monetarily as this can sometimes negate the act entirely, and not every business will always be in a position to pay out bonuses.

Furthermore, these kinds of rewards are usually given annually or in timeframes that leave long gaps in which you miss opportunities to offer praise for affirmative behaviour.

It’s essential to acknowledge your staff’s progress and give constructive feedback consistently. This shows that you recognise everyone’s efforts and are actively involved in your business. And remember, simply saying ‘thank you’ can be great for business, morale and staff wellbeing – so make it a habit!

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Think about who you’re giving it to

Everyone is different, and individuals perceive recognition differently.

Some want to be heralded across the company, while others would prefer a more discreet and personal approach that shows you have taken the time to really consider their efforts.

If you are awarding them with a gift or a prize, it should in some way be personalised to the recipient or help to form a positive association. A bottle of alcohol for an employee who does not drink may be seen as a generic and inauthentic gesture on your part.

Where should you look for the deserving staff

Considering how much time the average human being will spend at work in their lifetime, it’s not surprising to note that, sometimes, the people who know us best are our colleagues.

Peer to peer recognition is a very effective way of acquiring a good perspective on the strong performers and contributors, plus it encourages colleagues to recognise positive traits and support one another.

Getting feedback from managers is, of course, still a very relevant way of understanding how certain teams are performing. It also provides an added layer of prestige to the accolade. So, choose your sources wisely, use the key performance indicators you have put into place to find the top performers; but, also keep an ear to the ground because you never know when you might miss out on someone that deserves a little spotlight.

Appoint a Director of Culture

One of the reasons why some recognition schemes fail – and your employees become disillusioned with your efforts – is because, although you may have set out with the best intentions, you’re simply too preoccupied to keep a finger on the pulse of everything going on in your company.

While you don’t necessarily have to hire someone for the job, you can appoint an employee within your company who has the capacity to undertake the role. This not only helps to keep things objective, but it also means that you can be consistent in your efforts to reward positive behaviour.

Your Director of Culture can help to keep the flow of communication going throughout your business while also dedicating time to developing team-building activities and receiving feedback on how your recognition scheme is working.

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