Employee engagement is increasingly understood to be an essential business strategy to achieve business outcomes. To be truly engaged at work, people need:
Recognition is a critical pillar of engagement without which employees are unlikely to be inspired and contribute their best. A culture of recognition and achievement should be tied to the company values and must have the following key components:
Participation in the program by senior leaders and managers makes it clear that recognition is important to the company. And, the process must shine a light onto the great contributions of employees, from the most visible top sales people to the interns in the warehouse. Often, in less visible roles, it is peers who can identify and celebrate the organization’s unsung heroes delivering on the brand promise every day.
Recognition – at its best – is highly personal, but a robust platform can support the effort and address the changing demographics of the workplace. Whether by reinforcing a virtual community with a Social Stream, or by giving managers Mobile App access to reward onthe-go, the platform serves as the hub of the program.
On the site, managers and program administrators can find the reporting they need to understand the engagement level of participants, and to adapt the program to meet evolving goals over time.
Joint research by the Incentive Marketing Association and the Incentive Research Foundation recently showed that the preferences of employees vary widely. Remarkably, they found “Out of 452 study participants, 448 – nearly all of them - each had unique award profiles in terms of preferred award, presentation / ceremonial aspects, potential for professional development and advancement, among many other preferences.1” Some employees prefer public, formal recognition. Others would rather hear a private thank you.
Providing many ways to recognize is not only a best practice, it is essential. Some options include:
Reward preferences are as varied as the diverse workforce. Different generations, different life stages, unique aspirations influence each person’s preferred experience. Some participants are interested in Travel, others prefer an eGift Card for dinner tonight. Still others save points for that highly prized merchandise item, like jewelry or the latest electronics.
A wide array of choices will boost interest in the program, connecting to personal hopes and dreams.
A world-class program should deliver a world-class experience, where customer service representatives act as advocates for the participant and genuinely care about the outcome. Every contact is a reflection of the brand and how it values its employees. That is essential to get right.
And finally, a world-class recognition program needs champions, both internal and external. It needs senior leadership to be on board, horizontal leaders at every level to get behind the program and give it life, and a partner who is invested in delivering the best experience possible, through its many evolutions.
For more information, click here to read our whitepaper, Roadmap to Employee Engagement, which includes useful next steps to develop a program to support your business goals.
As Vice President of Engagement Strategy & Corporate Services at Next Level Performance, Susan serves on the board of the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF), and chairs the IRF Research Committee. She has also served on the board of the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA) and is a past president of the Recognition Council, and a past member of the Performance Improvement Council and the Incentive and Engagement Solution Providers (IESP). She is interested in the strategies and benefits of employee engagement, incentive, and recognition programs. An avid traveler, she is also passionate about the art and science of incentive travel.
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