Incentra Insights

Workforce Recognition – It’s not as Hard as You Think!

Posted by David Chittock on Jun 3, 2014 4:29:00 PM

U.S. is Still Falling Behind

Despite all the attention focused on the value of workforce recognition and employee engagement, Gallup finds that only 30% of the U.S. workforce is actively engaged in their work.  The ratio of engaged to actively disengaged employees is roughly 2-to-1, meaning that the vast majority of U.S. workers (70%) are not reaching their full potential.   Gallup estimates that active disengagement costs the U.S. $450 billion to $550 billion per year.  Gallup also identified frequent recognition—weekly, in fact—as one of the key critical drivers of employee engagement.  So why are so many companies falling so behind in creating a rich program of workforce recognition?

So What’s the Problem?

One of the problems may be the massive amount of research available regarding employee recognition programs.  One could easily get buried under the volume of reports, surveys, and polls performed in the name of keeping abreast of all the changing trends.  No wonder HR managers want to run and hide. You’ll need an ally to help you navigate it all.

An additional challenge is the number and scope of both cloud-based and site specific technology platforms to choose from. Here again, you’ll need some expert advice to make the right decision for your organization.

Another issue is the lack of effective manager training in employee recognition.  Without formal training, managers will fall back on what worked for their predecessors, often with less than positive results.  An out-of-date recognition program is just not going to cut it.  Leadership is going to have to invest in fairly intensive training programs to realize increased employee productivity and engagement.

Some Simple Solutions

Sounds pretty overwhelming.  But is doesn’t have to be.  Some fairly simple and straightforward actions can help you jump start your recognition initiative:
  • Acquire knowledge of best practices in employee recognition including tying recognition to behaviors that support your organization’s mission and goals.

  • Be an advocate for employee recognition to your upper management and request formal training.

  • Become more sensitive to a multigenerational, multicultural workforce and learn how to recognize and reward contributions by all employees, not just top performers.

  • Understand that to be effective, recognition has to be timely, frequent, and personalized to the individual.

  • Appreciate and embrace social media and peer-to-peer recognition as invaluable aspects of employee recognition.

  • Choose a technology platform for workforce recognition that is totally customizable, flexible, scalable, and able to make changes on a dime.

  • Learn how to be a good communicator, and more importantly, a good listener.

  • Choose a partner that gets it and gets you.

Recognition is Easy

Actually, implementing a successful enterprise-wide employee recognition program can be a fairly easy task.  Remember, the ultimate goal of an employee recognition program is 100% employee engagement.  This can only be realized if you’re able to create a culture of recognition and appreciation.  Saying thank you for a job well done is probably the essential key to everything you desire in an employee recognition program.  Pretty simple, huh? 

Categories: Employee Recognition