The festival season in India, is around the corner. Online retailers are flooding inboxes with customer loyalty programs and new deals that is available for the loyal select few customers. So are brick and mortar retailers, asking regular customers to avail additional benefits in the holiday season, while shopping. Every business today, right from the flower& birthday delivery service firms to airlines, informs you, that as a loyal customer you have benefits to reap. Appreciations and reward is the surest way to get repeat behaviour, the most commonly applied psychology practice.

Even if this is common knowledge, organizations are not very structured or forthcoming while appreciating employees within, for repeat good work. The Rewards &Recognition (R&R) program is a motivating tool to recognize and appreciate all those employees who are part of the organization’s success story. If managed correctly and in the right spirit, organizations will be able to create a healthy working environment that is both competitive and trusting. However in so many firms, the R&R is predictable affair, with most employees assuming the ‘round-robin” approach by leaders in awarding certificates within teams. The value of the R&R program itself is lost in the process and becomes a rote activity, managed by the HR department.

If R&R is so important, why are there poorly executed recognition programs in some firms? First issue, is the ability to identify and being able to recognize performers in an open platform. Managers and leaders lack the ability to identify performers. Even if managers can identify winners, they are apprehensive and lack the confidence of representing their opinions, even worse, being challenged and appearing partial, in case they choose performers. Hence, managers pick winners in turns, to appear favourable. This is where, HR departments can be of immense help-by creating workshops on how to recognize and appreciate performers as a part of the first-time manager’s training. The next big issue is lack of multiple opportunities and platforms to recognize talent and create the visibility. Many firms have just one company-wide comprehensive R&R program. Even there, few firms insist on a long criterion to qualify, and then submit a two-pager to a committee , who get to pick the winner. The cumbersome process dissuades recognition, by design. Have multiple ways to recognize employees, all recognition doesn’t need to be tangible awards.

  1. Pat on the back – During team meetings where everyone is present, recognize regular and effective work.
  2. A nod up – Sending a note to the manager’s manager and marking the employee(s) and recognizing the good work achieved.
  3. Feedback tools – Using the feedback tool effectively by giving regular feedback.
  4. Appreciations Cards – Virtual or Actual appreciation cards that, the employee can proudly display.
  5. Social Media – Internal and External social media to have regular features of employees who have gone the extra mile.
  6. Regular interaction – Meet and greet your employees outside emergencies and meetings. Interact and discuss on areas which are common or acceptable to you both. Important for the employee to feel respected.
  7. Recognize passions and hobbies – Especially if your organization espouses work-life balance. Indicates, that you are willing to appreciate achievements that is not just work related.
  8. Peer recognition – Set aside one team meeting, where individuals can recognize efforts and achievements amongst each other. This peer recognition, in the midst of a manager, not only motivates employees but creates team-cohesiveness.
  9. Tangible goodies – Ask for a budget, and ensure you award tangible goodies or experiences to well-deserving employees regularly.
  10. Team Work – If you have various teams working together, then be sure to recognize exemplary team work.
  11. Subject matter expertise – For those who appear to be evangelists or champions on an area of work, ensure to reward them with more interesting and complex work in the same area. Not just within your team but across the organization.

Recognition is priceless, and status is much more than money. It increases employee loyalty, enhances performance and generates greater success. Recognize effort and build a stronger organization.

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