What these stats tell us is not all recognition programs are created equal. So what are the best-in-class organizations with highly effective programs doing differently?
There’s Nothing More Meaningless Than “Good Job”
Employee of the Month reward programs are empty praise. Exactly what are you being rewarded for? Random affirmations are not tied to any specific achievement or behavior, and so they can’t encourage that specific achievement or behavior in the future. How are employees supposed to continue doing well if they don’t know what doing well means?
Because of this, according to World at Work, companies are moving away from legacy recognition programs and into more specific programs. The majority of companies have some kind of prize for hitting career milestones — 5 years, 10 years, and so on. But have you ever heard of an employee that sticks it out at a company for another year just to get an iPod? Probably not.
Employees Want to Understand Their Place
On the other hand, rewarding employees for behavior tied to company values and goals is far more influential. And clearly, employees that achieve these goals are helping the company as well. What recognition programs need is context.
Employees — particularly of the younger generations — want to be more than just one person working at a desk. According to Globoforce, 79% of employees say recognition tied to core values gave them a stronger sense of company goals and objectives. And employees who have a strong sense of those goals and objectives are far more likely to be able to work toward accomplishing them.
Having a wider view of larger company goals helps employees see where they fit within the overall structure of the company, and it makes their day-to-day activities important. And recognition programs that focus on specific behavior that advances these goals — hitting a certain sales figure, having an excellent customer service resolution — can reinforce these feelings of engagement.