Do Your Recognition Programs Have the Right Stuff?

BY Kathy Crosett
Featured image for “Do Your Recognition Programs Have the Right Stuff?”

Your employees come to work every day because they’re engaged in what they do, and they expect to get paid for it. There are also the unexpected benefits. From time to time, when employees do a great job, your managers may publicly praise them, and they may get a gift card or a bonus. This established pattern in most organizations certainly builds loyalty. But your recognition programs could be doing so much more. David Grossman explains in his post on yourthoughtpartner​.com.

In any organization, team members exhibit desirable and undesirable behavior. Part of a good recognition program is about reinforcing desirable behavior as it relates to goals. For example, if one of your strategic goals is to roll out a new product, you’ll want to reward employees who are demonstrating extreme commitment.

Consider a situation in which a product problem – a showstopper – is identified just before product release. The employees who stay late to fix that problem might be deserving of recognition and a reward like gift certificates to their favorite restaurants. When you publicly hand out praise and gift cards, perhaps at a company meeting, you are making a statement. You're telling the rest of your staff, through your actions, that you’d like to see more of this kind of commitment.

Your recognition program can also be used to change company culture. For example, you want employees to treat each other with respect. This year, your top sales reps have blown the doors off their quotas. At the same time, they’ve been rude and yelled at the folks in accounting who didn’t generate bills fast enough to suit them. Contrast their behavior with two other reps who have struggled to meet their quotas. But these reps have always been respectful to other staff members. Maybe they've even gone out of their way to help the accountants. In this case, you have to decide. Should your recognition program be used to reward staff members who met organizational goals or the staffers who epitomize the culture you want to shape.

As is often the case in business, there is no right or wrong answer. It comes down to deciding which is a higher priority for your organization. What would you do?