Integrating Employee Recognition with the Organization Culture

Integrating Employee Recognition with the Organization Culture

Much has been said and written about the significant role played by employee recognition in enhancing the engagement and retention of a business workforce. In fact, many experts are of the opinion that a majority of professionals across various organizational levels consider being appreciated at the workplace to be more important than receiving additional monetary benefits. As a result, organizations today are paying much attention to the development and implementation of efficient employee rewards and recognition programs. Integrating these programs with the company culture can further add value to the benefits that organizations expect to reap from them, which can result in enhanced business success.

Need to Integrate Employee Recognition with Company Culture

It is an accepted fact that both employee recognition and company culture help in maximizing performance and minimizing employee turnover. However, the idea of integrating the two for enhancing business growth is relatively new. Implementing this concept can offer multiple other benefits, in addition to those mentioned above. It can help develop a positive work environment where professionals can enjoy working. It will also promote the sense of self-motivation and commitment towards the organization within the workforce. Most importantly, it will help to build an organizational culture where performance is valued and appreciated and naturally attract top talent.

Tips to Integrate Employee Recognition with Company Culture

Building a work culture based on employee recognition is requires constant effort and dedication, especially by the managers, supervisors and team leaders. They can use the below-discussed tips to make employee recognition an integral part of the company work culture. The following tips can prove helpful for them in this context.

Develop the habit of On-Spot Appreciation

Managers and supervisors need to develop a habit of thanking employees every time they see them going above and beyond their call of duty. They need to assure the employees that their efforts are not going unnoticed and make them feel appreciated for the same. Managers need to steer clear of the mindset that employees must be aware of the fact that what they are doing is good and being valued. However, the mere acknowledgment of this fact by their superiors can go a long way in reinforcing their confidence and keeping them motivated.

Make Special Occasions extra special with personalized gifts

A majority of companies present gifts to their employees on special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries. The management can make these occasions extra special for the employees by presenting them with personalized gift items. Such initiatives reflect a sense of understanding and care for employees by the management. This can prove to be an extremely useful tool to motivate and win over entry-level employees trying to get a hang of things around them.

Take time to listen to the Ideas and Opinions of Employees

One way of appreciating employees on a day to day basis in order to develop a recognition based work culture is to listen to what employees have to say. The team leaders and managers should take time out to learn about any new ideas that their team members might have to enhance business growth. In addition, they should listen to their views and opinions rather than risk their sharing the same across social media channels. Even if the ideas or opinions expressed by the employees are not acceptable, they should be thanked for the same.

Empower the employees

Handing over a little additional responsibility to the employees makes them feel trusted. However, these additional responsibilities should not make the employees feel overburdened with work as in that case the employees will feel demotivated and dejected. Making the employees responsible for taking key decisions with regard to the company can help to empower them and build their confidence. In fact, many professionals view such additional responsibility as a form of employee recognition and feel motivated by it.

Maintain High Levels of Transparency

One of the most important aspects of building a work culture that is integrated with employee recognition is to maintain optimal transparency in everyday working. Managers need to be open and honest with their team members and keep them updated about any new developments in the company. This helps in building trust between the employees and the managers and also assures them of being an integral part of the organization.

Promote Habits of Relaxation

Many times managers might sense a slowdown in their teams. Rather than ignoring this as something that will pass with time, managers should motivate their team members to take a break and relax. They may even take the initiative of inviting the entire team to enjoy a cup of coffee or to take a stroll outside the four walls of the office. This helps the employees feel relaxed and also indicates to them that their hard work is being noticed.

Most organizations aim to turn into one where people will stick by even during the worst times. One way of achieving this objective is by integrating employee recognition with the organization culture.

Will digitization of Rewards and Recognition result in loss of personal touch?

The answer to this question is a resounding NO!  People had said similar things about the telephone, computers, the Internet and so on. But as social beings, we have still managed to figure out ways to keep personal interactions going, at least in some form.

When it comes to employee rewards and recognition, there are huge benefits of digitizing and automating the process:

  1. Timeliness: One of the key requirements of timely recognition of employee achievements can be achieved through a digital platform that cuts through the manual processes of data collation, approvals, procurement, and distribution.
  2. HR Productivity: Getting rid of the manual tasks frees up the time of the HR team allowing them to devote their time and energy for more value-added activities.
  3. Digital savvy employees: With a good percentage of Gen Y employees in the workforce who spend a significant percentage of their waking hours on various digital platforms, having a traditional system of rewards and recognition is just unthinkable.

While the benefits of digitization seem obvious, what about the flipside of it in terms of reduced employee touch?

This is our school of thought, corroborated by real-life experiences in various organizations where such digital platforms have been implemented for employee rewards and recognition:

  1. Employee Events: With digitization of the processes, the HR Team now has more time to plan and execute events linked to employee rewards and recognition such as floor huddles, all-hands-meets, town halls and other formats of team meetings to recognize employees in person, typically by the manager or someone senior in the organization in front of reasonably large gathering of employees.
  2. Emails: Digital platforms would usually send out the communication over email to the team that the employee belongs to, cutting across locations and offices. Employees in other offices or locations who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to know about a colleague getting recognized or would get to know it late through a monthly newsletter etc. would be able to know it instantly as it happens. Several of the immediate colleagues might even reach out to the recognized employee over email (phone or messenger) to congratulate him or her.
  3. Digital Dashboards: A digital wall of fame can propagate the message even further across the broader organization, cutting across all boundaries of geography, functions, and teams and practically reaching all employees of the organization.
  4. Social Media: Policies in certain organizations allow the communication to go beyond the organizational boundaries into social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. It might get posted through the company account or allow the employees to share the post to their personal accounts, further increasing the reach. The communication can now reach the friends and family of the recognized employee, further increasing his or her level of joy.

Overall, it does seem that digitization of the employee rewards and recognition program adds much more than what it takes away. There is no reason to believe that it would reduce the personal touch. In fact, it will improve the timeliness and spread of the communication vastly, creating a far higher level of satisfaction for the employee when one compares it with the traditional method of communication and distribution of employee rewards. It is almost like comparing an airplane with a bullock cart. Given today’s digital savvy way of life, geographically distributed workforces and busy corporate schedules, a digital platform for employee rewards and recognition is a must-have in most organizations. No second thoughts!

What are the benefits of an employee rewards and recognition program?

The management of any organization where employee rewards and recognition program has been implemented will always keep asking whether the program is delivering benefits. The management would typically want to see some tangible benefits to justify the continued funding of the program. Hence it is important for the HR team to demonstrate these program benefits on a continuous basis.

At HiFives, we have had long and deep engagement with our clients for their employee rewards and recognition programs. Based on this experience, we would like to list out a few of the benefits that should be aimed for or provided by employee rewards and recognition program in organizations:

  1. Employee performance and business impact

Done in the right way, employee rewards and recognition can reinforce good performance by employees, which would have a direct or indirect impact on business metrics such as revenues, costs, customer satisfaction, etc. For example, an employee who gets an award for achieving high levels of customer satisfaction is more often than not likely to continue to perform at the same or higher level. It might also motivate his peers to demonstrate higher levels of performance. The same would be true for an employee who is being recognized for cutting costs or driving innovation.

  1. Employee behaviour linked to company values

If executed well, employee rewards and recognition programs can deliver desired behaviour from employees in sync with the organization’s core values and beliefs such as ethics, commitment, customer centricity, passion or collaboration. For example, an employee who has worked on an important project to meet a critical deadline might be eligible for an award under the category of commitment. Another one could be that of an employee who might have resisted attempts by a third-party to secure a contract by trying to offer ‘personal incentives’ to the employee. In both these examples, the behaviour and the outcomes should be kept separate.

  1. Driving specific behaviours and outcomes

The organization can drive specific behaviours such as innovation, process efficiency, punctuality, social awareness, etc. through employee rewards and recognition programs.  For example, employees can be incentivized for good suggestions on process improvement. Another example could be of recognizing an employee who has participated in a social initiative or sporting event outside the organization.  It is difficult to incentivize such behaviours through the traditional performance assessment and regular compensation system. Hence employee rewards and recognition could be a useful tool in the HR team’s toolkit to drive such behaviours.

  1. Employee motivation and camaraderie

Employee rewards and recognition can help create a positive atmosphere of celebration within the organization. It can help foster individual-level motivation and overall team spirit. Open recognition of employee achievements can go a long way in building a great culture of appreciation of each other’s efforts.

Overall, employee rewards and recognition program that is well designed and well executed can provide significant dividends to the organization to justify the investments made into the program by the management. However, it is important to keep these objectives in mind while the program is being designed and implemented without any ambiguity. Otherwise, it will also end up as yet another HR initiative without clearly articulated benefits and well-defined ROI.

 

by HiFives Team

The Magic of Employee Recognition

Recognition is an ancient tradition in all communities, dating thousands of years. Recognition at the workplace too goes back in history. Typically top driven, it represents the appreciation of performance or achievement of an individual or a group of individuals, generally by a designated leader within the organization. Employee recognition may or may not come with monetary benefits but more often than not, it comes with high visibility within the organization.

Employee recognition has come a long way and has evolved into a more structured form of appreciation within the organization; not just restricted to leaders or managers but any employee in the organization could recognize anyone. Such peer-to-peer recognition, though a noble thought has been subject to a lot of pessimism from the management as to whether it is indeed genuine or not. Several organizations have downgraded the value of peer-to-peer recognition to well below manager recognition due to this reason.

Whatever the mechanism of employee recognition, we believe it should be timely and well thought through. It has a multiplying impact on employee motivation if done in the right way. Hence, systems and processes need to be implemented to ensure that the impact of it is fully realized by the organization. That is when the magic of employee recognition will touch the work lives of all employees and create a great work culture.

An employee recognition system should take care of the following:

  1. Enable a manager (or peer) to recognize an individual or group in a few easy steps
  2. Checks and balances to minimize bias, duplication and errors to the extent possible
  3. Financial or other authorization based on the organization structure and policies
  4. Communication to the immediate group and the broader organization easily and quickly
  5. Reporting and tracking of the key metrics

Key metrics would include coverage ratios at various levels. Usually, organizations would set a target coverage ratio for themselves. Though setting a target puts more focus into the whole process but it might also make recognition for the sake of recognition which devalues the entire concept. Hence, our recommendation would be to set a target range for employee recognition, purposely keeping it on the lower side to preserve the novelty and the value of it rather than making it an entitlement.

All this is just the science of employee recognition, driven by systems, processes and hard numbers. However, the art of employee recognition goes much beyond that – what is said and written; the honesty with which the communication is done and the timeliness of it; all matters. Systems and processes can only facilitate but it is up to the individual manager or employee to create that magic!

According to us, employee recognition is both an art and a science that helps build a culture of appreciation within the organization. This will ensure that employees think and act beyond their goal sheets and appraisals and create a positive atmosphere within the organization. Ends are always going to be important but means too are important. Hence, what is required is the magic of employee recognition that should permeate through the entire organization between one appraisal cycle and the other.

HiFives Team