In this section, we'll be breaking down how you could design your recognition program. Each of the other chapters are broken down into separate articles, which are linked in the table of contents below.
If you would prefer to view this guide in its entirety and as a single .pdf, please download it here.
While no two recognition programs are the same, the below steps have helped HR teams around the world plan for a successful launch - and continue to drive strong adoption months later. You can navigate the subsections below.
3.1 Develop Success Criteria
Prior to developing a recognition strategy, we recommend that HR teams ask themselves: “How do we define success for our recognition program?” While qualitative information can help, quantitative data helps HR teams understand how recognition is trending, and if they should take additional steps to boost their culture of feedback.
Here are four key recognition metrics that we recommend HR teams evaluate:
- Number of recognition posts
Helps HR teams see changes in company-wide recognition. You can also slice this data by location, department, or other demographic to see areas of strength and opportunity at your organization.
- Average number of recognition posts per employee, and how this changes over time
Another helpful metric on employee adoption to guide future HR efforts
- Corporate Value Hashtags used
Helps HR teams assess the values that most strongly resonate with employees, and those that do not.
- Correlation between number of recognition posts and changes in engagement scores
Provides visibility into how recognition is impacting employee sentiment.
Omada Health Case Study
One year after launching Reflektive’s recognition technology, Omada Health’s top quartile engagement scores increased across the board.
3.2 Make Recognition Easy
To drive a culture of recognition, giving praise should be easy -- and employees should be able to do it in their daily workflows. We recommend recognition tools that seamlessly integrate into employees’ favorite workplace apps, such as Gmail and Slack. With recognition built into their favorite tools, employees are more likely to celebrate wins and continue strong performance.
3.3 Provide Guidance on When and How to Give Recognition
After determining the metrics you’ll evaluate, it’s time to turn to the employee experience. We’ve found that employees need clarity on when to give recognition, and the best ways to provide it.
In general, praise shouldn’t be tossed around lightly -- to ensure that it’s meaningful for employees, we recommend that recognition is used for major milestones. The list below includes common situations in which praise is given at Reflektive. It’s by no means exhaustive, but a good starting point as you develop guidance for your employees!
- A new program or initiative is launched
- A new partnership is live
- A new product is launched
- Meaningful improvements have been made to internal technology or processes
- A deal is closed
- A customer renews or expands
- A new market is entered
- A peer has developed a new, valuable skill
- A peer has gone above and beyond
- A peer has embodied one of the organization’s core values
- Anniversaries, also known as workversaries, celebrating employee milestones
After partnering with hundreds of companies, we’ve seen the highest recognition adoption when organizations use the below best practices for giving praise:
- Keep it specific: By informing colleagues of specific actions that positively contributed to a project, they’ll know which behaviors to continue
- Tie it to your values: Seeing company values in employee kudos helps bring the values to life, and helps instill your company culture
- Make it visible: Encourage employees to share recognition publicly -- this encourages peers to provide praise too
- Incorporate it into performance reviews: Knowing that praise from colleagues will be included in review cycles is added motivation to give kudos. Additionally, it saves time for managers and reduces recency bias during reviews!
3.4 Partner with Key Stakeholders
After you develop your success criteria and recognition best practices, start building relationships to drive a successful launch of your recognition program. We recommend partnering with the following people:
Leadership: Department heads are your best allies in encouraging new employee behaviors. Tell leaders what you’re looking to accomplish with your new kudos program, and why recognition is important in driving engagement and retention. Encourage leaders to provide recognition right after launch to set the tone for the rest of your workforce.
Managers: In addition to collaborating with department heads, managers will play a huge role in driving recognition across your company. Get input from managers on ways to boost praise at your organization, and the types of recognition their employees prefer.
Influencers: After you launch your program, identify employees who give recognition often. Ask these individuals what motivates them to give praise, and see if these practices can be replicated across your organization.
3.5 Develop an Integrated Campaign Plan
Now that you have key partners to launch your recognition program, it’s time for the fun part -- building an internal campaign to drive excitement. We recommend a multi-pronged approach to make your recognition best practices stickier and more memorable.
Ideal places for recognition-related content are:
- Company-wide trainings
- New hire trainings
- All-hands meetings
- Your company’s intranet
- Weekly recognition recap email
- Quarterly email to all employees celebrating a major accomplishment that was acknowledged with recognition (Include the original recognition post too!)
- Posters and printed collateral around the office to encourage employee recognition
- TV screens around the office
- Contest to incentivize employee kudos