Ways In Which Your Employee Recognition Program Can Go VERY Wrong
It is no secret that all employees want to be acknowledged for their efforts. This further guides them towards their goal. Additionally, it gives them that much-needed impetus to go beyond the call of duty - something that often gets lost in the process of simply getting the job done.
It is very similar to contributing to a group project in college. Every student (well, not every one of them), is assigned a role and contributes his/her own share to the overall goal. It is the professor’s job to extend criticism where it’s required, as well as recognize the effort that is being put into assembling the entire project. And if he neglects to do so, the students won’t have anything to work hard for the next time.
For an employer, supervising employees is no different than that of a college professor, grading students. Ignore recognising their efforts and rewarding them intermittently, and you will find yourself at the helm of demotivated employees, without the zeal to innovate or perform.
Most companies do have employee recognition programs in place. However, there are instances where the programs followed by companies might fail. You may be surprised by the rookie mistakes you might inevitably make, that could hamper the future productivity of your employees. Let’s get you acquainted with some of them.
Here’s How Your Employee Recognition Program May Turn The Tables On You
Make sure you don’t make the following mistakes while devising an employee recognition program.
1. Encouraging Competition Which Results In Just One Winner
A competitive spirit isn’t always a bad thing to foster. While it could especially effective for sales teams, it is generally counterproductive across an organization. Over time, competitive reward programs create a group of disappointed ‘losers’, which erodes morale and engagement. It is ideal to reward excellence (performance), rather than winners (people).
2. Making It All About ‘The Money’
Recognizing exceptional performances with a bonus isn’t always a bad idea. After all, the current workforce mostly belongs to the ‘millennial’ generation that demands competitive compensations.
But this can backfire, if employers don’t take the time to really develop relationships with team members beyond the standard, “I pay you for your time, effort, and results” model. If you reward excellent performance only with cash and pecuniary benefits, you’ll build a staff that works only for monetary gain. But if you want to forge a deeper commitment, you need to go beyond material rewards.
3. Not Giving Individual Credit Where It Is Due
The spirit of “There is no ‘I’ in team” sounds very righteous. But let us go back to the group projects at college - where there is one student who toils day and night, and the others who merely reap the benefits of the former’s hard work. It is necessary to recognise individual efforts too and reward the employee for the same. Failing this, you might just destroy the morale of a high performer and your team will gain another slacker.
4. Assuming You Know What Motivates Everyone
When it comes to running a company with an assortment of employees, you have to be at the top of your game. A good boss recognizes and rewards his staff. A great boss understands that different employees respond to different ways of encouragement. For some, it may be cash, for others, it may merely be a weekly word of encouragement. A few would also prefer some perks like paid leaves, or movie tickets!
As a supervisor, you have to move over the ‘one-size-fits-all’ philosophy.
5. Recognition Arrives Late… And Is Generic
Recognition works best when it’s delivered quickly. If you wait until that all-hands meeting to congratulate the last quarter’s top performers, good luck generating any real or lasting motivation! Also, specific commendations work better than anything more general. Thin phrases like “great team player” could actually drive your employees to disregard any efforts at recognition. Effective recognition programs need to be based on specific rewards for specific activities and behaviours. And let’s face - most of us have a short attention span and barely just remember what happened yesterday. That’s all the more reason to deliver concrete recognition in real time.
6. Never Making An Effort To Know Your Team
With a company having a large number of employees, it is a small, but an essential boost to the employees when their manager addresses them by their names. It is a very minute part of the operation of employee recognition, but certainly, never goes unnoticed.
Communication with your employees is an essential element - knowing them on a personal level and bridging the employer-employee gap should be your first step towards creating a work-friendly environment. This way, when your staff is indecisive about certain things, right from a minor doubt in how to perform the job they are trusted with to something major, like doubting their position in the field, they know they can always discuss it with their higher-ups.
The foremost aim of an organization should be to make their employees feel valued and respected. If they start believing that their absence would not make a difference to the company, they will not approach their work with the same zeal.
It is hard to find people who would say that they love their job. But it isn’t hard to comprehend that the ones who do, definitely fall under the category of those who have a committed supervisor; one who gives them credit when it is due.