Recognizing and appreciating employees for efforts, behaviors and results in line with what matters most to your organization is guaranteed to get positive results. But getting the most out of employee recognition programs requires empowering all employees to fully participate in recognition and giving managers actionable oversight of recognition itself through metrics and dashboards.
A September 2014 report from Aberdeen, “Next-Level Employee Recognition,” discusses these two needs in greater depth.
1) Trust Employees with Full Peer-to-Peer Recognition
Among the top fallacies of employee recognition is that it should be limited to managers to give recognition to subordinates. This is wrong-headed for several reasons, primarily:
- Not even the best managers can see everything good going around them every day.
- When employees are empowered to recognize excellence in each other, recognition itself becomes an informal training mechanism to teach employees what behaviors are most desired and how to demonstrate those behaviors themselves.
- Manager-to-subordinate recognition puts handcuffs on the natural free-flow of recognition across groups, organizations, silos, teams, and other structures. Sure, appreciation can happen outside of a formal system, but how much better would it be to actively encourage that kind of positive behavior and capture additional knowledge of behaviors, actions and results through it?
The Aberdeen report highlights the value of P2P recognition, noting:
“The best recognition programs are set up so that all employees – from interns to executives – feel empowered to recognize their colleagues’ quality work. Fifty percent (50%) of companies from Aberdeen's The Power of Employee Recognition currently enable employees to socially recognize each other (also known as peer-to-peer, or P2P, recognition), while 25% plan to do so in the next year. “
The report goes on to note the impressive bottom-line impact of such recognition in terms of revenue per full time employee (FTE), customer retention and employee retention:
2) Give Managers Recognition Metrics Dashboards to Encourage Success
The saying, “What gets measured gets managed” is true.
It’s not enough to empower employees. Managers must be empowered, too. Data is the most valuable resource for managers to ensure the full value of P2P recognition is realized. And that data must be delivered in easily accessible ways.
The Aberdeen report goes on to say:
“While only 46% of Best-in-Class organizations measure the success of employee recognition efforts, this is still almost double the effort as compared to All Others, who registers a 25% adoption rate. Forty-three percent (43%) of Best-in-Class companies provide their managers with access to metrics that track recognition efforts, compared to only 18% of All Others.”
Managers can encourage desired behaviors, including how their own direct reports behave in terms of recognizing and appreciating others, but only if they know the data behind those behaviors. Easy, infographic-style dashboards help managers also manage recognition activity better.
Aberdeen also has a handy checklist, “5 Practices for Best-in-Class Recognition” for for leveraging recognition like the top global companies do. These ideas can help embed recognition into your company culture and empower employees to recognize great performance.
Is employee recognition part of the culture of your organization? Are all employees empowered to recognize others or just managers? Which do you believe is most effective?
As Globoforce’s Head of Strategic Consulting, Derek Irvine is an internationally minded management professional with over 20 years of experience helping global companies set a higher ambition for global strategic employee recognition, leading workshops, strategy meetings and industry sessions around the world. His articles on fostering and managing a culture of appreciation through strategic recognition have been published in Businessweek, Workspan and HR Management. Derek splits his time between Dublin and Boston. Follow Derek on Twitter at @DerekIrvine.