Be it for higher retention, increased employee engagement, improved performance, or to drive a cultural prerogative, recognition is a key HR lever at the workplace. However, instead of simply outlining a number of rewards every year, businesses can cement their employer brand by developing a unique culture of recognition. That could make employees go from TGIF (Thank God it’s Friday) to TGIM (Thank God it’s Monday). Here are a few points to bear in mind while building your culture of recognition:

  • Plan right

What behaviours do you want manifested at the workplace? Identify and articulate the behaviours and achievements you want to recognize, such as excellence in customer service or collaborative working. Then comes the R&R mechanism. This includes planning a budget for the recognition program, allocating resources, creating awareness through campaigns, and building a selection process for inclusive participation. Once the basics are in place, constantly monitor the program to ensure the R&R remains authentic and democratic, and make adjustments where needed.

  • Get leaders on board

For the recognition program to be truly meaningful, leaders should be involved in the planning stage, be aware of and aligned with the R&R objective, and be willing to mould their own behaviour to lead by example. All these add up to ensure that the recognition received is genuine and not a checklist item to be completed. Public recognition should take precedence over closed door recognition so it can serve as an example to others.

  • Create the right mix

Good behaviour and great work can take place all through the year. Then why confine reward programs to be an annual feature? Sprinkle a mix of rewards, even if they are smaller ones, across the year. Consider rewarding small wins as well as big ones, individual to team efforts and even contributions from external stakeholders like vendors or suppliers. Democratize the recognition process to ensure great work is acknowledged not only by managers but by peers too – a mix of top down, bottom up and lateral appreciation.

  • Bigger the contribution, bigger the applause

Recognition can take many forms, like verbal praises, bonuses, and awards. No matter the form of recognition you choose, ensure it corresponds with the contribution or achievement being celebrated. Highlight the achievement through a mix of large scale public forums, small group meets, as well as social media. Even better – make recognition a part of performance reviews so that team members see how their work is evaluated and celebrated.

  • Adopt new age mediums

Explore the use of technology to automate recognition through new software and app-based tools like employee recognition platforms, social recognition tools, and employee appreciation apps. Gamification elements and virtual reality tools can amp up the excitement, and make activities like virtual team-building or celebrations more immersive. From digital badges to virtual rewards like gift cards, e-vouchers, or discounts and digital kudos, there are many ways to show appreciation. What’s key is to continuously adapt to remain trendy, relevant, and effective.

Creating and sustaining a vibrant culture of recognition takes time. While on the trail, if you can ensure that recognition becomes more personalized, interactive, meaningful, and a way of life at work, you will have set in place a program that helps your workplace stand out from the rest.

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