Human Resource professionals and business leaders are challenged to define and measure employee engagement and company culture. One important component of each that can be measured is employee recognition.

Reward, recognition and performance improvement programs contribute to a positive work culture by clearly communicating the company’s mission and values.  They ensure that employees understand their role in the organization and are rewarded for their contributions to the success of the company.

Of course a competitive salary and benefits are important to both current and prospective employees, but they are the baseline now. Today’s employees want to understand the culture of the organization that they’re joining. Employee engagement and recognition programs don’t just contribute to the culture of an organization, they help to shape it. How important are employee recognition programs? According to World at Work, 14% of companies feature their recognition programs prominently when recruiting.

Effective programs that are based on performance measures and offer motivating rewards delivered appropriately will help to retain your most valuable asset: your key employees. It’s not as easy as it looks, however. When recognition programs for employees are not structured strategically, you could be wasting your money.

5 Employee Recognition Program Budget Wasters:

  1. It’s all about the “prize”. Today’s employees are not motivated by pins, plaques and certificates that might be seen by their co-workers. In many cases, they’re not even working together in an office environment. An effective employee reward program intentionally accommodates the work environment. The program process and experience should be as motivating for the employee as the reward.
  2. The program is not accessible on mobile devices. Consider these statistics: 80% of internet users have a smart phone and 34% of smart phone users ONLY read their email on their mobile device. Apps constitute 89% of mobile media time (with the other 11% on websites). If you do not have a mobile app for your program or it is not at least mobile responsive, it’s time for an update.
  3. Management is recognizing-by-rote. The Manager is not connecting the dots between the accomplishment and the recognition. It feels to employees as though management is rotating through the roster to recognize the next employee in line. For an employee motivation program to be effective, the employee (and the manager!) must understand why they are being recognized and rewarded.
  4. Your program stands alone in your department or division. Recognition programs for employees help to build and reinforce a positive employee culture.  Integrating the program across the organization ensures consistency and allows you to communicate and reinforce company values.
  5. You’re not rewarding employees immediately enough. Gone are the days of rewarding employees for hanging around for 5 years. Today’s employers need staff performing at their highest levels. A professionally-designed employee program will clearly outline expectations and immediately reward employees for reaching objectives.

Employee programs play a critical role in employee engagement strategies. Once you decide which behaviors contribute to improved performance, reward & recognition programs are the levers that help you achieve those changes.

Making the Most of Your Employee Recognition Program Budget

Properly structured employee recognition programs that are based on goals and performance measures deliver a clear return on investment. Here are some tips to make sure that your employee program contributes positively to your organization:

  • Get Management Support.  Employees will be watching to see whether this is yet another initiative that will pass or if company leadership is participating in the process, the communication and the reward delivery.
  • Have a Strategy.  Start with the end in mind. When recognition programs are thoughtfully constructed based on specific goals and include the right participant audience, they achieve great results.
  • Work the Plan: Execute.  Once your strategy is in place, do not be distracted by other shiny things: stay true to your program plan and make adjustments after the program results have been analyzed.
  • Cash is Not King. Don’t be tempted to use what may be perceived as the path of least resistance. Cash is easily confused with compensation and is not the most effective reward choice.

Working with an experienced partner to help design a program that optimizes the current technology as well as the latest motivational theory will ensure that the recognition programs for your employees will provide the highest return on your investment. To learn more about employee recognition programs, click here to visit the website of a reliable service provider.