3 Cheers for Recognition

employee recognitionEmployee recognition may be the most written and thought about topic in human resources today. At Brandon Hall Group, we understand the importance of recognizing the good work that employees do, so we are constantly looking for case studies of organizations handling recognition in new and innovative ways.  We also conduct studies like our recent Employee Engagement Study, which showed that recognition is the top driver of engagement.

We’ve written many times about engagement and recognition in past Brandon Hall Group blogs.  I told you about the importance of compliments as a way to recognize employees and drive higher engagement.  Madeline Laurano, VP of Talent Acquisition/ Principal Analyst, reminded us to keep recognition simple so that it becomes part of the day-to-day routine.  Additionally, following her fall 2014 Employee Engagement Study, Madeline told us about creating a culture of recognition.

According to Madeline:

“By focusing on recognition, companies can help to boost employee engagement. In fact, recognition was cited as the most valuable tool for engaging employees over engagement surveys, wellness programs, and coaching and mentoring. Unlike traditional incentive programs that strengthen employee satisfaction for the short-term, a culture of recognition ensures that employee engagement levels are sustainable for the long-term. It requires companies to think about recognizing employees’ contributions continuously and not just at one point in time. Recognition should also include peer-to-peer initiatives where the power of relationships can help to drive engagement levels. Recognition — more than any other tool — is what can motivate employees and make them feel appreciated.”

With all this focus on recognition, the recent Fast Company article by Adele Peters, This Billboard Cheers If You Walk by It Instead of Drive, caught my eye. It’s the story of Susan Weigold, who had the concept of using a billboard to cheer for people as they walk or run by as a way of motivating them to continue exercising. According to the article, “She envisions the design fitting into a larger program that would connect people for community support as they exercise. “For me, it was all about making people believe that their actions were significant,” she says. “In the short term, it’s a cheering crowd. In the long term, it was grouping people together so that their little bit of effort adds up to something.”

While just a concept at this point, I began thinking of ways to apply this in the workplace to recognize all sorts of employee behaviors.  You could create small desk versions that would cheer for the employee when they did well on a project.  You could have larger versions in your conference room to cheer after a good presentation or meeting. The uses are limitless.  While these concepts may be a little “out there,” I challenge you to start thinking of ways that no one else is using to recognize your employees.

Are you already using recognition tools as a way to cheer on your employees for desired behaviors?  I’d love to hear what is working and what your concepts are.

Trish McFarlane, VP and Principal Analyst,
Human Resources, Brandon Hall Group
@Trish McFarlane

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