A recognition programme that is well thought through, structured, communicated and embedded, can give a business a competitive edge when it comes to attracting high performers into the organisation and retaining the loyalty of valued existing employees.
Our experience has identified eight elements which are fundamental to the successful implementation of a structured reward and recognition programme:
A Coherent Framework, Clearly Communicated
The organisation needs to develop a framework which is clearly communicated to all personnel, against which they can be recognised by peers and managers when they exceed expectations.
Clear, Fair Criteria
Transparency is key. Everyone must be able to see who has been recognised and why. Although this may lead people to question the validity of some cited cases, it energises the debate and over time will help to raise the performance bar.
Consistency of Language
Terminology must be clear, avoiding unnecessary jargon, and the place of the scheme within the overall operational framework, explained.
Rewards should be non-cash. Research shows that treats and pampering have the greatest motivational impact.
Sufficient Flexibility To Meet Local Business Needs
Flexibility is crucial. Programmes may need to vary by business unit. Ideally a programme will offer a balance between behavioural (observed e.g. customer service) and achievement based targets (quantified e.g. sales).
Immediacy of Recognition
Immediacy ensures that the right behaviours are recognised at the right time. Impact is lost if there is too long a gap between earning and receiving.
Workable Governance Including Budgetary Control
Organisations need to prioritise their budgets and do more than pay lip service to the concept of recognition.
ROI Measured from the Start
Budgetary governance can help to show how funds are being used but it does not in itself provide sufficient information to identify if the recognition framework is having the desired effect. There need to be measures of ROI in place and these should be agreed at the start.