Employee Recognition a Summary of Best PracticesEmployee recognition is a big part of what we do.  As a result, many QIC posts address topics centered on implementation of employee recognition programs and their organizational benefits.  Below are some of my favorites (in case you missed them) along with a few of my added thoughts.

Rob Miklas’ post:  Lessons from the Street – Employee Recognition and Misguided Street Sweepers, Rob emphasized two important requirements for program success.  1) Having a clear strategy, supported tactically by actionable tasks for achieving program objectives; 2) Building a firm foundation with award rules, data collection and communication.  To better understand these two important requirements, I believe it’s helpful to start with a refresher on the definition of Strategy.  Strategy can be defined as a method/plan of action chosen to bring about a desired future, such as achievement of a goal or solution to a problem.  As an example, a Strategy could be to increase organizational profitability by 3% a year for the next 3 to 5 years.  One objective for achieving the strategy could be increasing employee retention by 10% a year for the next 3 to 5 years.  And a tactic (i.e., an actionable task) for achieving the objective, could be implementing an employee recognition program, thus creating an environment of frequent recognition and appreciation by awarding employees for tenure, attendance, scheduled absenteeism, birthdays, on-the-spot awards, etc.

Mike Sullivan’s post: Embedding Core Values is Foundational to Employee Recognition, Mike discussed the importance of representing the core values of the organization (e.g., integrity, customer service, reputation, trustworthiness, etc.) by rewarding employees for the “how” (values demonstrated in achieving results) as much as for the “what” (the results).  Mike references a blog post by Derek Irvine who suggests aligning the award rules with the company’s mission statement as a way to ensure the program reflects the core values of the organization.  I would add that even though employees might have a general understanding of a company’s core values, whether through familiarity with the company’s mission statement or communicated by leadership of the organization, actually having the core values embedded in an employee recognition program provides a vehicle for continued emphasis and regular communication.

In Michelle Chappell’s post: Community Service and Employee Recognition, Michelle suggests incorporating community service projects into an organization’s recognition program as an activity to build employee camaraderie and reinforce corporate culture.  Implementing this as a component of our employee recognition program has proven to do just that at QIC.  From all accounts these projects have clearly been enjoyable, bonding, and corporate-culture-building experiences.  I highly recommend it.

Jeff Edwards’ post: Navigating the Path of Employee Recognition, he stresses that the administrative platform and the rewards collection are as important to an employee recognition program’s success as the program design.  It sort of reminds me of the three legged stool analogy.  If an employee recognition program were built on a stool, proper design, administrative platform and rewards collection would be the legs, all three requiring thoughtful consideration and planning for the program to achieve maximum success.

Alison Newman’s post: Expressions of Gratitude – Building Blocks of Recognition, Alison talks about a particular event that took place at her apartment complex – Resident Appreciation Day.  The complex management team handed out some free goodies, along with a free breakfast and dinner later in the evening.  Although just a simple, inexpensive way to say Thank You from the management team to the residents, the impact of feeling valued and appreciated in such a public way can have a positive effect that will last a lifetime.  In a recent Forbes.com blog post by Siimon Reynolds, entitled Appreciation: The Key to High-Performing Employees, Siimon suggests three techniques for showing appreciation:  1) Follow the three-to-one  Ratio – Leaders who have three positive interactions for every one negative with their employees end up with vastly happier and better performing staff; 2) Always Enter the Office in a Positive Way – When you haven’t seen your team for over two hours, make sure when you enter their area that you are warm, upbeat and fully present – for at least the first few minutes; 3) Praise in Public – When you show appreciation to an employee, try to do so in front of others.  It makes the appreciation more powerful – and usually lifts and motivates other staff as well.  And a recommended 4th technique, as Alison described in her blog post, would be to incorporate appreciation into a comprehensive, points-based employee recognition program by awarding employees for birthdays, anniversaries and on-the-spot recognition.

Another post by Mike Sullivan, entitled Employee Recognition – All Aboard, Mike accurately outlines the importance of having a broad selection of Reward choices that provides enough depth and breadth to meet a wide variety of reward preferences, and to only consider limiting choices beyond the service providers already professionally-selected offering after thoughtful consideration, based on actual redemption activity from a program review, rather than subjective opinions.  To do otherwise could negatively affect employee engagement, thus impacting overall program success.   I would add that the rewards offering is a key component of a participants experience and perceived program value, and the rewards selected for the QIC rewards offering have gone through a rigorous set of criteria in order to be selected (price point, brand, retention value, quality, variety, popularity, demographic representation and more). Therefore, we reemphasize careful consideration along with proper analysis prior to making a decision to curtail the rewards offering.

In summary, designing a successful employee recognition program starts with the corporate strategy, followed by defining objectives for achieving the goals of the strategy, and then establishing the tactics/actions/tasks (i.e., the Award Rules) for achieving the objectives.  As suggested by the authors in the above blog posts, award rules should incorporate the core values of the organization and award employees for the “how” as much as for the “what.” Including appreciation awards (e.g., birthdays, anniversaries, on-the-spot recognition) and community services projects in the program are just a few suggestions for building the corporate culture and enhancing program success. Next is ensuring the administrative platform (e.g., IncenTrac®) adequately supports the program hierarchy and award rules through data collection, reporting, performance tracking, analyses and communication.  Equally important to the program design and administrative platform is choosing a provider with an attractive and robust rewards offering, an offering that has the depth and breadth to appeal to a wide demographic, and includes quality, name-brand, long-term retention reward items.

To find out more about employee recognition, contact us here or call 800.621.9745.

As president and CEO of Quality Incentive Company, Scott leads a team of seasoned associates who, like him, average 20+ years of experience in the incentive and recognition industry. He is responsible for the overall strategic direction of the company and is actively involved in the management and oversight of customer relationships.

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