Oh no…another employee recognition program?! Negative emotions can run high in some organizations around these types of new program initiatives. The main questions are: How do you avoid this reaction? And how can you maximize the adoption of your new initiative?
It’s a double-edged sword for many companies wanting to increase KPIs around performance or job satisfaction. Most calculated reactions are to look at the latest trends in employee engagement and assign the task of vetting a solution to a small committee or lone individual to “fix” the issue at hand. This poor employee soon realizes the precarious position they are placed in – keeping management happy while not introducing a corny new program to their peers. It feels much like a kid being dragged to the dentist by their mom.
In one case I recently was involved in, tempers flared to the point of revolt against management from one lone department when management tried to introduce a social recognition system into their lives. These were full-grown adults, in a hip and cool tech environment, but they detested the thought of another program being pushed onto them. Without adequate buy in, ANY program is doomed to die on the vine.
My 5 Key Suggestions for Program Adoption Success:
Keep in mind rewards do not have to be monetary! Time with a person that has influence over their careers (lunch with a manager) is more impactful than a gift card in many cases. Define an annual reward budget. I have heard mention many times the calculation of 1-2% of gross annual salary as a universally accepted benchmark to aim for. This is purely up to your own internal finances, and creativity in the blend of monetary and non-monetary rewards. Finally, I would suggest you ASK your employees what they would like. You can guess, however, you may have a diverse employee group in terms of age and attitude. Plus, personal finances are different for all individuals, so it’s best to keep open and ask for ideas from within.
Taking these 5 suggestions into consideration will greatly increase the success of any employee recognition program within organizations who are trying to improve or build upon their internal culture. Being eyes wide open around the reluctance likely to initially occur will help in the development of “what” to do, “when” to adjust the plan and “how” to introduce and maintain the program. You may never reach 100% participation, however, you will have a much higher adoption and longer lifecycle throughout. With a little planning and attention, you can turn “I’m out!” to “I’m in!”.
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