12 building blocks to create a strategic nomination recognition program
Employee nomination programs are one of my favorite parts of any recognition framework. They make me smile because it’s one of those programs that gives responsibility to absolutely everyone in your business to tell the stories of how their peers are going above and beyond.
No matter where you sit in the organization, nomination programs give employees an opportunity to identify with one of your values or core behaviors in action to tell the story around how that delivers something truly impactful and meaningful for the business.
When I ask employees, nine out of 10 come back to me and say, "This is what makes me feel good about being empowered to recognize. Supporting my team and my peers whose work I know best by sharing their achievements in the context of work. If they are rewarded as a result of my nomination - even better!”
Strategic nomination programs are commonplace in most company reward and recognition programs – they're easy to implement and help to get our people thinking about the difference between good and great behavior and linking it to impact and outcomes.
By enabling your employees to nominate one another, it empowers them to share stories of stand out achievements in the workplace that might otherwise go unnoticed by the wider team - creating maximum visibility and inspiring others.
Nomination programs offer extensive flexibility for businesses looking to drive various strategic objectives and are highly configurable, so there are many ways in which you can leverage them. You can control the evaluation process, you can control the reward and recognition budget, you can even control things like who is able to nominate for a specific program at a specific time and if there will be an approval process in place.
When you start thinking about your own nomination program, here are some of the considerations you could start thinking about. (We know it’s a lot, so feel free to reach out to us if you want to chat any of them through!):
- Are you awarding an individual, or a group?
- Who is eligible?
- What is the nomination criteria?
- Will you have a nomination window, ie; monthly, quarterly and if so, what is the time frame? (We recommend having at least one nomination program that’s always on so you never miss an opportunity to receive a recognition moment!)
- Is it monetary or non-monetary?
- What will your budget be?
- What will the value of the award be?
- What does the approval process look like? (i.e. is it a committee?)
- Who are the approvers?
- How will you communicate and promote the nomination program?
- How will you make the nomination program visible?
- What visuals and assets will you need to effectively communicate the program?
While you can see the possibilities are endless, one suggestion we do have is having a nomination program that allows for anyone in the business to be nominated and so that all employees, no matter their role or location can recognize great work the moment it happens.
For criteria, many organizations will lean on their company values, so for instance at Reward Gateway we attach a value to the action of the person and then describe the impact of that action - we call this the AVI (Action, Value, Impact) method to writing strategic recognition.
A common question I hear is, "What if we don’t have values?" That’s OK! It doesn’t mean you can’t create a great program. Think about your strategic objectives, or why your business exists and then think about the behaviors you need to deliver on those objectives and/or your why.
Use these behaviors as a starting point to help your employees understand how their roles support you to deliver. For example if you are a business that has customers you may have "Putting the customer first" or "Proactively resolving customer challenges" as a core behavior to start.
As for frequency, there are a few to consider, which is an "always-on" program as I’ve mentioned, something that is "time bound" like a Quarterly Values Ambassador, or something that is "segmented" for specific teams or locations, such as a Customer Service Team Star of the Month.
These stories help us elevate those moments that make an impact/outcome and share them all for our teams to learn from and replicate – realistically, it’s the least expensive L&D tool your company could have!
If you want to discuss any of the criteria around building a nomination program, or are interested in setting one up yourself, my team is here to help.