Symbols can be an integral part of an effective employee recognition program

by on May 11, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Symbols recognize excellence in an employee recognition program

We are inherently a nation that treasures symbols and ideas and tokens.
They just carry deep meaning. They help bond people. Whether it’s the team jersey or the diamond engagement ring or the academy award, they really do have deep meaning.

This idea that symbols carry emotion is one that, so many times we think, well, we’ll give them a little bonus in their check. We’ll give them the verbal praise. We’ll put their picture in the newsletter. That’s enough. They’ll just remember that.

A remembrance of the employee recognition
Remember that the token is the remembrance of the event. It’s the thing that when you look at links you emotionally to what’s going on and it links you back to that award presentation which we’ll get into in just a minute.

I’m not saying that every time that you pass out an award in your employee recognition program, it’s going to have the impact of an Olympic gold medal. But if you do it right, I think you’ve got a shot.

You know, not many of us are going to ever win an Olympic gold medal. But I think all of us at some point have the opportunity to be recognized at work. To be praised for heading up a great team or developing a new product. If our managers do it right and do it in front of our peers and they present us with something that’s long-lasting, a token, a trophy, a crystal plaque, a watch, whatever it might be, I think you can have the same impact that Olympic athletes feel. I really do.

Make employee recognition a valued commodity
I love this quote from Marcus Buckingham, big fan of his and his last book, “The One Thing You Need to Know”. He talks about good managers don’t need reminding of the power of praise. They seem to know instinctively that praise isn’t merely a reaction to great performance; it is the cause of it. Again, have you set up a recognition strategy where there are milestones? Where there are things that people can strive for?

Because if there is employee recognition, you’re going to get more excellent behavior than if not. You know, why do people go to the big tournaments? Why do they go to the Olympics? It pushes them harder. You know, it always amazes me when I watch the Olympics, how many world records are set. To get what? To get the medal.

So if you’re looking to increase sales, increase customer satisfaction, put a goal up there. Don’t make it so far out that no one can achieve it, no one wins the gold medal. But make it so that when achieved, that pride kicks in, the celebration kicks in, the memory kicks in, the standard of excellence has been raised. It will cause people to strive harder for the employee recognition. I just think Marcus Buckingham said it so well.

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