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What will Employee Recognition Look Like in 2017?

Thanks to new, innovative technology, the workplace is evolving faster than ever before. It is the HR professional’s job to be one step ahead of the game and continually seek out more effective methods of employee engagement, and one such technique is regular and meaningful recognition of achievements.

There are hundreds of ways to recognize employees, from a free breakfast to prizes and bonuses, but research tells us over and over that a huge portion of employees out there still don’t feel valued and as such are unsatisfied in their role. So is your employee recognition programme missing something? How will you tweak it in 2017?

Social Recognition

Gathering meaningful insight through social peer to peer recognition solutions will help to quantify spend and the ROI of HR initiatives such as thank you programmes.

“I’m awed by the insights that social recognition tools can provide – from understanding who is giving, and who is receiving recognitions, and what their peers are saying, to which values are being adopted by employees, to managers who are, or unfortunately not, making the necessary commitment to appreciate and value their team. Social recognition understands behaviour, it cleverly presents workplace energy and relationships to managers, and if reward is present, you can’t fail to position it exactly where you want or need it. A huge challenge for HR.”  Jon Ingham, author of Strategic HCM, Creating Value through People.

Say No to Stagnant Rewards

Everyone appreciates those small personal touches that make their hard work worthwhile. More and more companies are going above and beyond to make their reward offering unique. What you mustn’t do is let your reward scheme get stagnant. The truth is that the novelty will wear off if you give employees the same rewards year in and year out. Each year you should analyse the rewards you offer and ask yourself if they are actually having the effect that you want.

Are the rewards that you provide actually engaging employees and are they improving customer service, streamlining operational procedures and increasing sales?

Performance Reviews vs Real Time Recognition

In 2017, you may wish to take a closer look at the ways in which you give your employees feedback on their performance. For example, many companies will run through employee feedback in an annual face to face meeting and from this will give an employee a mark that represents their efforts and achievements. In 2017, organisations need to take a more personal approach to this as it has become apparent that not all employees fit in with the criteria or indeed relish the annual review. Concentrate instead on the real time recognition that happens outside of these meetings as this will help to break down barriers.

When an employees’ efforts are brought to your attention, a thank you email sent via a centralised system will go a long way and encourage repeat behaviours.

Be Specific

We all know that employees love to feel valued but how can you make sure your praise has maximum impact? When giving feedback to employees, it pays to be specific. Yes, a thank you will always be well received but if your employees understand exactly what they did right and what impact it had on a fellow co-worker or the company’s bottom line, they are more than likely to repeat that behaviour.

Whether they made a team member feel welcome or they hit a sales target, make sure that your feedback is detailed and where possible linked to corporate values or desired behaviours.

Celebrate the Small Things

Many organisations use non-monetary recognition or token rewards to recognise smaller actions which contribute to a positive workplace. Some even use food to reward employee achievements but that weekly treat can easily become something that employees take for granted. One way to shake things up is to use treats like pizza to celebrate the small things. So each time you have a small success, mark the occasion with treats for the office. Rather than simply laying out the treats, accompany it with an email or a small speech explaining the team success in more detail. This will make the praise a lot more sincere and make the experience more rewarding for employees.

Recognition techniques are continually evolving, yet many organisations remain stuck in a recognition rut, with aging systems and manager-led, de-centralised processes. To ensure you continue to celebrate success in an effective manner your organisation must adapt. So what changes will you make to your employee recognition scheme in 2017?