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Value-based Employee Recognition - What is it?

Great employees are not replaceable – at least, not without a great deal of effort.

This is the universal truth all of us, including the recruiters, are aware of. Which is why retaining talent is one of the biggest HR goals for managers in 2018. But what is the key to retaining employees successfully? Do the annual performance bonus and salary increase suffice or is there something more that differentiates some of the best employers around the world?

The job market has seen an explosion in opportunities in the last few years. This means that employees, especially talented ones, are more picky about the opportunities they choose. Most millennials expect flexible work arrangements like flexible time, role and location. They need meaningful work, growth in their career, growth in their knowledge and skills, innovativeness so that they don’t feel they are stuck in a rut, managers and seniors they look up to, peers that they identify with and last but not the least, appreciation and recognition for their work.

Companies try to balance several of these expectations with value based employee recognition programs. The term sounds fairly ambiguous, we agree, but companies that use this efficiently see their relationship strengthening with their employees.

Employee Recognition Program

What is Value-based Employee Recognition?

This is an employee program that ties their recognition to the company’s values. There isn’t a blueprint you can pick and set for creating this program as it depends on what your company’s values are.

But there are some universal values that most companies wish to see in their employees. When you see your employees demonstrate these values via their work, it can be a great way to recognize, appreciate and reward them. The recognition can especially be tied to a behaviour or activity that you would like to reinforce.

What Activities Can Be A Part Of This Program?

The activities that can be a part of the recognition program are those that exemplify the company’s core values. A lot of companies, for example, insist on delivering high-quality results consistently to clients. Others encourage a passionate team which is governed by trust and individual ownership.

Here’s how employees demonstrate such values with their work

  • Identifying an improvement that can optimize processes.
  • Identifying a way to save money.
  • Going above and beyond in customer service.
  • Pushing innovation with new methods or procedures.
  • Going beyond the call of duty in performing tasks.
  • Being a team player and motivating peers.
  • Taking leadership in a company activity that drives employee engagement like celebrating festivals and organizing team outings.
  • Putting in outstanding effort to meet interim company targets.
  • Taking initiative for self-improvement, ensuring the job gets done in spite of a difficult deadline.
  • Substituting for a co-worker who is sick.
  • Exceeding expectations for a milestone or campaign.
  • Efficiently leading a team during a client presentation

How can you actually extend the recognition?

The good part is that value-based recognition and rewards does not require the company to spend a lot. Even simple but stylish lapels and tags make it a perfect way to help your star employee shine and feel happy. Most employees feel that it is better to get instant recognition for something well done than waiting until the end of the quarter or year when half the tasks are long forgotten.

Recognition is an important HR tool because it improves employee engagement and happiness, increases their commitment and loyalty to the company and inspires other to partake the positive behaviour.

Here’s what you can do

  • Informal recognition: This can be extended as frequently as possible, even on a weekly basis where you are spending time recognizing efforts put in each week by an employee who goes above and beyond their regular duty and outshines in their performance.
  • Formal recognition: This can happen bi-annually or annually where the recognition also comes with monetary rewards. Some companies offer to sponsor subscription to courses or even a fully paid vacation to a select destination.

Steps To Develop Your Own Value-Based Employee Recognition Program

The main objective of a value-based employee recognition program should be to create a culture of respect, reward and recognition for employees at all levels. It should also ensure that these rewards are shared in a timely manner.

1. Create An ‘Employee Recognition Team’

This team will have the core responsibility to identify, develop and implement the recognition program. It should have a fair representation from all levels of employees and include management too. This team can either be chosen by asking people to volunteer for the opportunity or by voting. It can be on a rotational basis so that all employees get to take on a role in the team at some point.

2. Identify Goals

The prime goal of the program will be to set guidelines for the nomination and selection of employees who deserve the recognition during a given period.

3. Choose Your Selection Criteria

Having this on paper gives a lot of clarity on what type of behaviour you are reinforcing. For example, you can have quarterly awards for leadership, customer service, teamwork, innovation, professional development, social service and exceeding expectations to name a few.

4. Expand The Eligibility Criteria

Typically, your full-time employees would be eligible for awards but what about contract workers, part-time employees and freelancers? It is not a bad idea to recognise them as well. Considering that their performance also influences your company's bottom line at some level!

5. Set A Quick And Simple Nomination & Selection Process With A Timeline

Decide how the nominations will come in so that no employee is left out, and when the awards will be declared. Keep the process as simple and fast as possible.

6. Choose The Rewards - But Not The Traditional Types!

Rewards can be both tangible and intangible. Employees love to receive creative recognition awards that can be put up on display. Also, ensure these are a bit unique and trendy, as a lot of times, your employees would love to share them on Social Media platforms as well.

7. Organize The Award Program

Awards that are given out frequently (like weekly) can be simply shared on email while quarterly or annual awards can be given with stage recognition.

8. Improve And Iterate

Last but not the least, run regular surveys to monitor employee satisfaction, which will allow you to tweak the recognition program to add better value to employees.

It isn’t easy for HR managers to keep the employees motivated and aligned with the company’s long-term vision. A value-based employee recognition program allows you to create an easy way for employees to understand the company’s core values as demonstrable action points.

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