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4 min read

In my last blog, I shared five tips for future-proofing and how to build your employee recognition program. But for something as important as recognition – something that’s been proven to have such positive effects on a business, five just isn’t enough.

To make sure your recognition program is set up for success, I wanted to offer a few more tips on how you can build a recognition program to support your business goals. Let’s dive in.

Listen and talk to your employees

Listening and talking to your employees may sound obvious, but I’ve found that this critical step is often ignored. Think about it: How often do you listen to your employees when you’re developing a new program, but then never go back and get their feedback once it’s been in place?

If you really want to make sure your recognition program meets its objectives going forward, you need to continually go back and ask employees if and how it’s meeting their needs.

One way to do this is through your employee engagement survey, seeing how the score changes for the question(s) relating to recognition. Another way that I’ve found even more helpful is to do a special pulse survey having just a few questions focusing specifically on recognition. Here are some examples of statements you may include in a pulse survey:

  • I believe that I am recognized in a timely and continuous basis for my contributions.
  • I believe that I have the tools necessary to recognize my colleagues in an effective way.
  • I believe that we have a recognition culture, one where recognizing each other is part of our DNA.
  • I believe that it is clear why, when and how recognition should be done.


Watch out for trends

Both internal and external trends can impact the design and delivery of your recognition program, so you want to be on the lookout for them.

One external trend I’ve noticed is the move to have online recognition programs, leveraging technology to create an 'always on' or 'anytime' approach to recognition. 

This removes many of the hurdles I’ve had to overcome in the past, especially when I’ve worked in businesses where not all of my employees have access to a computer during the day.

Extending your recognition program and embracing employee engagement mobile trends, like the new Connect+ app the team at Reward Gateway recently launched, can help reach even more of your workforce when they’re on-the-go or not at their desk.

US - Connect+ App-01

From an internal perspective, the best way to watch trends is by tracking and analyzing how your employees are using your recognition program, so observing their behaviors.Download our eBook to discover how to make employee recognition successful »For example, is there one part of your business that isn’t using your program? Or is there one plan that isn’t being used often by your employees? If so, practice open and honest communication with employees and go out and talk to them to understand why. Sometimes it may be a simple solution that can turn things around and make your program more effective.

Look out for influencing factors surrounding your business

Next, it’s about looking out for factors that are influencing your business, and then considering how these factors require a change in your recognition program. For example, has the business shifted or changed their goals, objectives or ways of working?

I saw this happen at a previous company where the emphasis shifted to encourage the individual businesses to collaborate more, as the Board felt this was critical for all of the businesses to succeed. As a result, we quickly added a new recognition plan to recognize collaborative contributions, sending a message to employees that this was something which was important.


Embrace technology

It’s impossible to discuss future-proofing without considering technology. In the same way that businesses are leveraging technology to attract and retain their customers, we too need to bring technology into how we design and deliver our recognition programs.

When I think of technology, I like to think of how it improves the experience for both employees and for HR, too. 

Gone are the days of massive spreadsheets, impersonal gifts from the back stockroom or paper-based programs. Technology can help employees recognize colleagues in the moment, redeem their rewards instantly for something they truly desire and help HR save time with integrations in how reward and recognition is processed by the company.

So there you go, four new tips to add to the five shared in my previous blog. If you take these tips and put them into action, you’ll be one step closer to preparing your recognition program for its own future, with an effect that will last for years to come.

Debra Corey

Debra Corey is an author, world-class speaker and HR consultant, paying it forward by inspiring and helping others around the world to bring out their inner rebel and drive strategic and meaningful people and business change as the Chief Pay it Forward Officer at DebCo HR. Her career spans 20+ years developing and delivering HR strategies in a rebellious way, pushing the boundaries and challenging the status quo to truly drive employee engagement.

Reward Gateway Advisor

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