Can Social Recognition Influence Employee Behaviour?
The one and only Shel Holtz asked an important question of his communityin a recent blog post: "Do your recognition programs actually influence employee behavior?"
It's a great question. While he ultimately concludes that recognition programs CAN
influence employee behavior, he also cites some of the common perils organizations experience when rewards and recognition efforts are limited to annual gala's or handed out in isolation in one-on-one sessions.
Striking the right balance with your recognition program can be challenging, especially since organizations too often celebrate the one-off ‘heroic’ stories rather than the repeatable, desired behaviors that employees exhibit in their day-to-day interactions with customers and colleagues.
We all know recognized behavior is more likely to be repeated. Unfortunately this thinking sometimes trips us up. We put too much emphasis on the reward as an object rather than the recognition. Too many programs put their focus on knick-knacks where the focus is inevitably dawn to the value of the item such as gift card, watches or tickets to sporting events. When the reality of budgets creeps into recognition, it invariably leads to a self-imposed limit to the number of times an employee is recognized.
Praise and recognition need to be a part of your culture and should be handed out frequently and generously. Employees thrive on being told that what they are doing is worthwhile. So, while reward programs seem like a good idea, they ultimately force you to consider your budget each and every time you recognize a desired behavior, ultimately resulting in less recognition.