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If you want your recognition program to increase employee buy-in, first they must buy-in to the program. Especially if you’re revamping an underperforming, outdated, or stale program for your company, there are 3 steps to ensure that the replacement will give you the results you’re looking for.

Make it authentic

If your idea of employee recognition is a quarterly printout of the team members hitting a milestone anniversary with the company, it’s time to shift your focus. Instead of recognizing how long they’ve sat in that chair, it’s time to recognize what they’re doing while they sit. Everything from a simple thank you to a kudo  for a particularly challenging job completed with a creative solution, an authentic recognition shows them you’re paying attention and you appreciate what they do, not just that you can count. The linchpin of any successful recognition program is authenticity – if you want your team to care, you have to care.

Make it organic

It seems counter-intuitive, but the most effective recognition programs are built to be organic and grass-roots. Instead of top-down management recognition, incentivize recognition within the team – both with inexpensive, easy to give tokens of esteem and appreciation (link), but also by starting a culture of thank you and an environment where people feel free to call out their cohort for a job well done. You’ll find the rising tide lifting all boats, and your team will work to exceed expectations because they know their work is appreciated and valued.

Make it easy

Engraved plaques are wonderful. Crystal is impeccable. Gold clocks are timeless (see what I did there?). They make outstanding permanent recognition items that hold a special significance and are a mainstay in recognition programs everywhere. However, if the only institutionalized recognition in your company requires an engraver and 2 weeks lead time, you are missing crucial opportunities to increase productivity, morale, and employee satisfaction on an everyday, immediate basis. Create fun awards that can be given on the spur of the moment (link to plaque magic), encourage your team to “catch” each other doing something good and recognize them with a kudo. Make sure you’re not just thanking the employee individually, but recognizing them publicly – in an internal memo or email, or even in your external customer newsletter. Brag on your team, tell customers how they go above and beyond, and encourage community that extends outwards from your company.

Surveys and studies of employee recognition have consistently shown that people are motivated by genuine recognition, even when there is little to no monetary value to the award given. Positive feedback given immediately and honestly is the best motivator. Creating a system and framework to make that process simple, convenient, and cost-effective will pay off in spades with improved morale, higher productivity, and a stronger bottom line.

If you are on board with developing a beneficial recognition program for your team, give Award & Sign a call. We can help you brainstorm and come up with a plan everyone will love.

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