According to research conducted by Gallop consultants Megha Oberoi and Paresh Rajgarhia …
“A company might have a world-class performance management system in place, but the system is only as effective as the managers who implement it.”
The research received data from 50,000 employees in 10 major industries and found that while effective recognition programs are key to a successful organization, there also needs to be solid relationships between managers and their direct reports to make those systems work.
The correlation of scores for the “best” manager showed a corresponding high rating for the recognition system. In companies where employees rated the systems as “poor”, the managers were also rated as “poor.” The conclusion of the researchers was simply that poor management and poor programs went hand in hand. In only 2% of those companies whose managers ranked “below average” did they find that systems were “very good.”
The research also highlighted four key attributes of strong managers:
- They clearly communicated performance standards and expectations for strong performance.
- They emphasized employee strengths rather than weaknesses.
- They worked to get subordinates to understand that the performance management system was designed to aid in worker’s skill development, not just to help determine promotions.
- They communicated frequently with their team members on performance expectations, instead of just during annual reviews.
The incentive and awards industry has known for years that front line and mid-level management, those that implement the program, are critical to the program’s success. It is clear that a good system is important, but the human element is more important. This was clearly shown in this research when the consultants said:
“Companies that want to increase organizational and employee performance and productivity should invest in getting the right managers in place and support them in engaging their employees.”
For a complete summary of this research by Megha Oberoi and Paresh Rajgarhia, please click here.
A recent article in Incentive Magazine brings together interesting viewpoints from the social sciences and behavioral economics. While there are many principles from the sciences that effect motivation and rewards, these ten are good ones to remember when you are planning your employee recognition systems.
Simply, it’s the law of give and take. Employees may perform well when recognition is provided to them.
When your employees see your best people being recognized, they want to emulate them and be rewarded themselves. Doing this publically always has an impact on the non-recipients.
Positive feedback takes on a special meaning in your communications to all employees.
Recognition validates the employee’s performance and places a value on their contributions.
Employees will work harder for non-cash awards, and can easily justify having them vs. getting money to buy essentials.
Employees can always exchange or transfer awards to others, but the recognition is non-transferable and becomes part of their emotional and psychological bank account.
7. Social Utility
Non-cash rewards will be experiences that people will want to talk about. Nobody talks about their income.
Cash awards are lumped in with compensation and considered as such. Non-monetary awards contain emotional value and memorability.
Recognition is usually unexpected and is always a surprise expression of acknowledgment. Understand the differences between recognition and rewards.
Your employees are motivated by fairness. Be sure to establish the rules of your program so it is equitable to all concerned.
Click here to read the complete article on the Top Ten Scientific Principles to Apply to Rewards and Recognition.
All through the recession there were many who warned that one day when the economy got better that retaining good employees would be a problem. That’s why employee engagement has been such a hot topic. It’s high up on the “To Do” list of every HR executive in the country, and will most likely remain there.
But at this stage is it a case of too little too late? Have the cuts and downsizing caused by the recession caused such angst in the ranks that turnover is already with us in a big way? If so what is around the corner?
While the mediocre recovery may have hidden some turnover problems to date, it hasn’t now. According to a recently released survey from OI Partners turnover was at 30% in 2012, and is tracking at 51% or more in 2013! And the turnover this year is crossing all levels of the organization. The breakout showed 51% front-line workers, high potential employees at 34%, senior executives at 29% and middle managers at 27%. Will the turnover become even greater due to a better job market? What would your organization be like if these figures happened to you?
The two main problems caused by turnover are a loss of business and decreased worker productivity. These became a fact of life the last time the country came out of a recession. So, managing turnover and recruiting the right talent are high on the HR priority list. More companies are working hard to show workers how valued they are. If retention is a problem while we still have a high unemployment rate (real unemployment upwards of 10%), it will only get worse.
According to the survey, coaching with middle management and high potential employees is considered the top method to attack turnover. OI’s chairman, Patricia Prosser related that “providing coaching to employees in how to become better managers is as important a signal of investing in their career development as are salary and benefit increases.” From coaching the natural progression is to measurement and feedback of performance followed closely by significant recognition, both with and without rewards.
Turnover is a fact of life. Managing it with the right tools can help you get through this business phase and come out of it successfully.
It’s hard (impossible?) to argue that Google has done most things right. Don’t you wish you were among the first few hundred employees they had in the beginning years and had the stock options they received? We don’t know the stats, but you’ve got to figure that the Silicon Valley has produced more millionaires per square mile than anywhere in the universe, well maybe with the exception of Wall Street, but isn’t that about the same thing?
The fundamental obsession that made Google successful and keeps them successful is analyzing data. They use it for every decision they make. It even has a big function in the HR department called People Analytics. Recently they used the analytics within HR to makes its incentives and recognition programs more meaningful. Unlike many companies that plan employee recognition programs, Google shuns benchmarking and best practices and prefers to do their own data gathering and analytics instead. In addition they examine external research to assure they are on solid footing and make sure they don’t duplicate work that has already been done.
According to Kathryn Dekas, people analytics manager at Google…
“Focusing on the users is a big tenet for Google. Within HR are users are our Googlers and we want to provide them with the most unique experience.”
The new system that they created to recognize and reward employees was done in house and has been, or will shortly be rolled out to all employees. Interesting to note that that this system was done in house and was not typical points based delivery system. This allowed them to control the award delivery and give their people what they wanted, based of course on the analytics!
We would encourage any company thinking of implementing or redesigning their employee award efforts to mine some of their own data, and not just purchase some off the shelf points based system that may or may not provide the type of motivation that your people really want.
Ok, it is pedestrian to say to anyone reading this post that employees who feel recognized and cared about produce more and better work. We all know that.
And, we know that almost all of you practice employee recognition in your workplace.
But, we also know that not all of you use this one simple practice that can add to the success of your recognition efforts:
Put it in writing!
Not just notes to make the recognition presentation or to send the info to management, but put it in a formal letter or memo, even suitable for framing. Send the letter to all appropriate levels of management, make sure one goes into the personnel file for the individual and then last, but not least, attach a handwritten note and send a copy home for the family to see.
Simple, easy, cheap, and more than effective!