What's the problem with employee recognition programs used by most organizations?

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

Lack of a formal process for employee rewards and recognition destroys value gained

In most organizations, non-monetary rewards and employee recognition, except for a few simple types of programs like the annual picnic and anniversary pins is essentially left up to each department or each hiring manager to implement in whatever they want to do.

Improved employee recognition programs
We’ve got to have a better employee recognition program. We’ve got to make it more structured and we’ve got to tie it in to the other things that we’re doing around, how do we compensate? How do we do personal development? How do we do individual coaching, performance management, performance appraisal, succession planning and make sure it’s a component of all those different pieces? No one’s ever told us, hey, here’s the right way to do it, here’s a good role model for it, here’s the best practices that are being done. I think of many of things that go on in companies, around human capital, human resources. This could be how we hire people, the programs we have for retention. Non-monetary rewards and employee recognition are essentially tribal programs.

Think about for a minute, what things in your company are tribal? Meaning you have no idea why you do them. You have no idea why they’re in place today. It’s just, hey, that’s the way it’s always been for the last 32 years ever since we popped into existence.

I liken this to the kind of a metaphor of, “I learned how to do this job from the old guy who learned it from the dead guy”. We just perpetuate the systems process as methods around people over generation to generation. Some work, some don’t, but we have no idea why we do them.

I’m going to suggest that instead of the old Benjamin Franklin or Albert Einstein quote that goes something like, “We keep doing the same things over and over, hoping for different results.” And if you all recall, they call that The Definition of Insanity. We’ve got to do things differently. We’ve got to figure out what is it that motivates our key people. How do we turn them on? How do we get them passionate? How do we get them excited? And this is one of the components that will start to move them down that path.

Make employee recognition fun and engaging
We’ve got to finds ways to make it fun, to make it exciting, to give people the passion for wanting to get out of bed every morning and say, I can’t wait to get to work because I enjoy being there.

In many companies, employee recognition is unstructured. It’s predicated upon who’s in charge of human resources this month, what manager is excited about doing these things. We don’t have a program that can be done at a supervisory level, a department level, a corporate level.

Different managers and supervisors know what they can do in the range of or the scope of the things they have at their disposal in terms of tools and programs.

Employee recognition needs a process

So, one of the things we want to do is make employee recognition and employee rewards a systematic and rigorous business process.

We don’t want to make employee recognition haphazard or when we feel like doing it. What we really want to do is turn it into a systematic and rigorous business process that generates specific results.

Now, here’s the interesting thing about this.

Because we’re not training and developing our managers and supervisors in how to do this, the lack of employee recognition affects the people that form the bulk of your businesses.

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