How to launch an employee recognition scheme
If your business doesn’t already have an employee recognition scheme in place, it should consider getting one a top priority.
Whatever gestures employees use to recognise and celebrate employee achievement can be rendered less meaningful when they’re not deployed as part of a formalised and ongoing system of employee recognition. When employees see that their efforts are officially recognised and appreciated, they’re more likely to give their all, with 69% of employees admitting that they’d work harder if they felt their efforts were better recognised.
At a time when over 80% of the country’s workforce either doesn’t feel engaged or feels actively disengaged at work, an employee recognition programme can be just the tonic your business needs. But, of course, the devil’s in the details. An employee recognition programme is not an all-purpose cure for all that ails your business — it’s about how you deploy an employee recognition scheme.
Here’s how to do it right.
Use the right tools
One way in which employers falter when implementing employee recognition programmes is lacking the right platform or format. They know that they want to recognise and celebrate employee achievement, they’re just not sure how. But we live (and work) in the 2020s and, as in all things, digital technology can come to the rescue here.
Today, many companies use digital apps as a platform for their employee recognition schemes. These look and handle just like the social media apps employees use in their downtime. Indeed, Facebook even has its own called Workplace. Except, instead of sapping productivity and providing distraction, these apps can actually improve employee engagement by creating a culture of recognition.
How these tools work
Managers can use these platforms to share and celebrate special employee achievements and show employees that their efforts are valued. What’s more, their peers can “like” and comment on these posts just like they could any social media posts. They can be used either on employer-owned devices or on employees’ own devices for Bring Your Own Device Days.
The right digital tools can make for a frictionless implementation and enthusiastic adoption. Let’s face it, employees rarely embrace change, especially when it necessitates learning to use a new digital tool. Because these apps look and feel so familiar, they assure a complete lack of friction at all levels.
For employers who want to augment their employee recognition scheme with tangible rewards, you can do this too. Still, it’s worth noting that a growing proportion of today’s workforce values workplace culture over compensation. Making recognition an ongoing part of your daily operations may be more meaningful to your employees than physical or monetary rewards.
What’s more, the appearance and interface of these platforms can be tailored to suit your branding. You can customise them to your needs and help them to feel like “your” solution.
If you’re keen to implement an employee recognition scheme but aren’t sure where to start, finding the right platform is a great way to begin.
Align the scheme with your workplace culture and values
An employee recognition scheme is a fantastic way to celebrate the everyday accomplishments that bring success to your business. Still, that’s not all that they’re good for. They can also be used to perpetuate the kind of workplace culture that you want to create and really bring it to life.
Every entrepreneur has a clear idea of what sort of workplace culture they want for their business. However, it can be hard to make it come across as anything more than well-meaning but ultimately hollow words on the page.
With a comprehensive employee recognition scheme, business owners and managers have the opportunity to capture and share the exemplary conduct that embodies your brand values and workplace culture. When these are properly aligned, an employee recognition programme allows you to shape your workplace culture by celebrating moments where it’s seen in action. Not only does this help to make your working days more pleasant, it also makes your business more attractive to prospective employees.
Use your recognition scheme in line with your targets and goals
An employee recognition scheme can be a powerful motivational tool. It can help to ensure that all employees understand your business’ goals, whether short or long term and the role their efforts play in making them happen. They can be used as a rallying cry when motivation is flagging and allow others to learn from the achievements of exemplary employees.
It can help to make targets seem accessible and achievable and be used to congratulate individuals and teams who smash their targets.
Whatever your targets, goals and KPIs, there are a variety of ways in which you can use your employee recognition scheme to help achieve them and bring the team together when they excel.
Don’t let digital platforms do all the heavy lifting
While digital apps are wonderful, don’t be afraid to supplement them with meaningful interactions that show employees just how much you care. Something as simple as calling an employee into your office to give them a sincere face-to-face congratulations on a job well done can be a real confidence booster to a team member. Even stopping to say thank you for their hard work or going the extra mile in the corridor or break room can make a powerful impression.
Your employee recognition platforms can be fantastic for lending structure to your scheme. Just make sure it’s supplemented by meaningful face-to-face interactions. Taking the time to show you care builds wonderfully harmonious workplace relations, and 50% of employees feel that being thanked by managers improves the relationship with higher-ups and builds trust.
Make sure trickle-down recognition isn’t all employees get
While it’s essential to ensure that managers reward the efforts and achievements of frontline employees, this trickle-down recognition shouldn’t be all that employees get. Less than 30% of the most memorable recognition comes from an employee’s manager.
Peer-to-peer recognition is also essential in maintaining a harmonious workforce. Make sure that your employee recognition scheme allows employees to celebrate their peers’ achievements whether big or small, nominate them for awards and show one another that they care. Making this a standard part of your company culture can go a long way in ensuring everyone is on board with your recognition scheme, meaning it’s easier to deploy.
Consistency is key
Employee recognition schemes can be a valuable weapon in the fight for employee engagement and low voluntary turnover. But whatever form your employee recognition scheme takes, it’s absolutely vital that it’s used consistently. And by consistently we mean every day by everybody. Managers can shower all the praise in the world on their teams, but if nobody’s reading it, what’s the point?
While digital apps can make implementation frictionless, users still need to ensure that their use is seamlessly integrated into daily operations and that employees are both able and encouraged to use them. Otherwise, they may be just another one of those fads that comes and goes in the workplace before it can effectively change your employees’ engagement levels.
Properly implemented and using the right digital platform, however, an employee recognition scheme can help you to boost profitability by as much as 22% by keeping your team engaged, motivated and happy at work.