Archive for the 'Employee Engagement Programs' Category
One of the most important things you can do to positively affect the performance of your employee recognition program is to make sure it is communicated properly. With the advent of social media in the workplace there seems to be an automatic assumption that communication of these programs will take of care of itself and we don’t have to do much. Maybe we do get a lot out of these social media sources, but don’t rely on them so heavily that you forget to promote your program whenever possible.
To start, make sure that the program is kicked off successfully. Use senior management, either on video or in person to announce it and share why it is so important. If it’s already in place, once a year you should re-introduce the program using senior management. No one has the skills of the great orators of our history, but some pre-planning will help make that introduction a success. This post from TLNT, a popular HR management blog, gives some excellent advice on how to get your message out to your audience. Simple ideas for doing this include:
- Analyzing Your Audience….who you’re talking to, what they want, how they can benefit
- Understanding the Reactions You Want to Produce….what do you want them to do
- Modify the Delivery to Achieve Those Reactions….use passion while delivering your message
The launch is critical, but ongoing communication with participants is equally as important. When you motivate your employees with a proper launch, they have a choice: they either stay engaged, they stay involved, they take a proactive stance to sort of continue to be involved in that vision, and/or they shut down. Ongoing communications help ensure that they don’t shut down.
Thought we’d bring this research from late 2012 on what gifts that adults wanted for the holidays.
It’s a little dated, but parallels more current data we’ve seen from the incentive industry. In light of all the discussion of late about employee engagement award platforms, we thought this would be helpful. Since the founding of this blog, we have been stating that gift cards are the #1 award in the incentive industry, for the fundamental reason that it’s what people want. That hasn’t changed. And when it does, don’t worry, gift cards competitors will tout that to the heavens.
In terms of what outlets these gift cards are for, this same IRF survey revealed that the largest number are for department stores at 39% followed by restaurants at 33%, bookstores at 21%, coffee shops at 18%, discount stores like Costco at 14%, grocery stores/gas stations at 13% and online retailers rounding it out at 11%.
It was interesting for us to note that when the traditional merchandise award supplier’s harangue on the main problem of using gift cards the main reasons is that they can be used for groceries and gasoline. And they are right, but 87% of the time, they wrong! Frankly it really shouldn’t make much difference to the incentive planner; the participant has to perform in order to receive the award. There are some schools of thought that think you should let them have what they want anyway. Who are we to determine those preferences?
Here’s a post on employee recognition that is well worth the read. It comes from The Fistful of Talent blog and was written by Paul Hebert, a well-known and respected incentive industry consultant with Symbolist.
His point that there is no shortage of platforms on which to run any and all types of employee engagement (read reward) systems is almost an understatement. Everyone and anyone who wants to sell any kind of reward will have one. And, if you bring them all in for a presentation you’ll find that they are all very similar, with cute little features that promise to give you the ultimate in employee recognition systems.
Recently, Google ruffled the feathers of the reward industry by doing away with a standard points based approach and develop their own platform…obviously easier and more cost effective for them to do. But they mentioned that a primary reason for doing it themselves was to be able to control the award delivery and give their people what they wanted, based of course on the analytics!
Google spent their planning time focusing on the value of their employees and what they needed to do motivate increased high performance. And that is what a well-designed platform should do.
If you are in that phase of planning (or have had a platform in place for some time and are thinking about revisions) you need to realize that unless the platform supplier is a strictly a software company, they will typically sell their system and the support of it at extremely low competitive pricing or even giving it away. This is done in order to pack the award side of it with awards that provide them with the high margin items that provide the profit to be able to give away the platform. It’s like the sales strategy employed by Gillette many years ago. They gave away the razors to sell the blades.
So if you want robot recognition as shown today by hundreds of suppliers, be careful that you get the kind of award delivery system that will truly excite your people.
The cynics of the award industry come and go. Alfie Kohn and Dan Pink wrote two of the bestselling books in the incentive industry, both anti incentives. They created a contingent of believers and supporters who like an ideologues in any field have a difficulty in ever seeing the other side of the subjects. Consider for a moment what Mr. Kohn claimed in his 1993 book…
“The bottom line is that any approach that offers a reward for better performance is destined to be ineffective.” And “the more closely we tie compensation (or other rewards) to performance, the more damage we do.”
But let the academicians argue over science and other aspects of the award industry. There are plenty of them who have positions opposite of our two famous authors mentioned above and have actually been a lot more scientific about it.
A highly respected one is Gerry Ledford ,PhD a Senior Research Scientist at the Center for Effective Organizations, Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California. He received a Ph. D and M.A. in Psychology from the University of Michigan and has authored over 100 articles and ten books and he frequently speaks at professional events. Just as a comparison, Mr. Kohn was a high school teacher, and Mr. Pink was a political speechwriter turned author.
As discussed in this article from The Compensation Café, scientific research on awards is quite different than what Pink and Kohn suggest. Some highlights from this article include:
- Monetary incentives generally do lead to increased performance.
- Extrinsic awards actually can increase intrinsic motivation
- Rewards have no negative effect on intrinsic motivation
So the next time a naysayer expounds on why award programs don’t work, hand them this post and tell them if they do want information on the other side of the issue to review the posts referenced here. The incentive and awards industry is alive, still thriving and still producing results for thousands of companies. Why? Well in a word because these programs produce results. If they didn’t we wouldn’t have them. It’s just that simple.
When’s the last time you took the temperature of your employee recognition program? Over the last two or three years how many times have you asked yourself these questions?
- How many of your employees have been recognized for good performance?
- How many for superior performance?
- What is the percent of employees who are recognized for performance?
- Do you keep any type of return on investment for your program?
- How much do you budget per employee for your recognition efforts and has this budget increased?
- How much of this budget is dedicated to years of service recognition programs which at best only recognize your employees every 5 years.
- Do you recognize employees in the first three or six months of their employment?
- How many of your “middle 80%” are recognized and how often?
- Has your employee recognition efforts effected your retention rates over the time of your program?
- Has your productivity increased since the inception of your program
Data analysis is common in almost every part of business, but often lacking when it comes to employee recognition efforts. The standard for analysis for years was the ubiquitous Employee Satisfaction Survey. When was the last time you did one of those and was the data above contained in the above questions included in this survey?
Recognition programs support the active engagement of your employees. Take the time to review the program you have in place to make sure that it is achieving the results you want.