Top mistakes in staff recognition programs

Avoid these common pitfalls to have a successful employee recognition system

Top mistakes in staff recognition programs

Want to do recognition the right way? Avoid these five common pitfalls.

1. Trying to do it yourself
Most companies start employee recognition programs by trying to do it themselves. But companies see more ROI from their program when they use an external vendor.

In-house vs. external recognition program comparison:

Most companies are not experts in the recognition space. Save yourself time and money by finding an external partner who knows the ins and outs and best practices when it comes to impactful recognition.

2. Not keeping your employees in mind
Just because you build it doesn’t mean they will come. Top reasons employees don’t use their new recognition programs are:

  • 60% are not able to access or use the tools
  • 37% don’t feel “allowed” to use the program
  • 22% prefer to use other methods of recognition

HR leaders say the top obstacles to sustaining and growing a recognition solution are:

1. Lack of senior leadership commitment and encouragement to use the tools
2. Meaningfulness of recognition offered
3. Availability of budget and resources
4. Ease of use of recognition platform

In order for employees to use and love your recognition program, they need to be able to find the tools, use them easily, and feel empowered to give recognition.

3. Not involving leaders from all areas of your organisation
Too many companies design a recognition solution at their corporate headquarters and roll it out company-wide without any input from local business unit leaders. Then they are surprised when the program isn’t meaningful to employees.

27% of HR leaders globally had only “some” input in designing their company’s recognition program. If you don’t seek input from all of your locations, you may miss some cultural nuances in different regions or local best practices that are currently working well. Be sure to include leaders from other areas to get their feedback and buy-in.

4. Not tracking usage
One of the biggest reasons companies pull the plug on a recognition program is because usage got out of hand. Or they aren’t sure what the usage is. Tracking who is giving and receiving recognition helps you manage budget, understand what behaviours are being rewarded, and enables you to measure the ROI of your recognition solution.

5. Forgetting about the experience
You get excited because 90% of your employees have been recognised in the past month. But you don’t see a difference in motivation, camaraderie, or culture. While recognition may be happening, employees may not be having the best experiences.

Most common vehicle for giving recognition globally:

  • 60% - Verbally in a meeting or gathering of colleagues
  • 54% - Verbally one on one with giver
  • 44% - Via email
  • 49% - Electronically through a formal recognition tool

The best recognition experiences are not transactional. There is a personal, human element to it. The experience of receiving recognition matters, so be sure your leaders are trained in celebrating accomplishments the right way.

The article originally appeared on O.C. Tanner

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