“The surest path to failure, is to not define success.” -ME (and everyone else)
A few years ago, I hit a plateau in my fitness efforts. Nothing had changed from the previous year in which I had made noticeable progress towards looking and feeling more fit. I continued lifting weights 5 days a week, mixing in regular cardio, and avoiding all junk food.
Gradually my progress slowed and I began to question whether it was worth expending so much time and effort without better results. But I didn’t even know what I needed to be tracking to figure what led to success and what didn’t.
Workplace recognition programs are no different.
Most of you belong to the 89% majority of organizations already offering employee recognition programs. You all combine to spend $4-6 billion annually. Your time and effort speaks to your commitment as leaders to build great workplaces, and it does not go unnoticed.
But has it worked? Is all that $$$ worth it?
“RECOGNITION PROGRAMS WITH NO PURPOSE ARE LIKE SAILBOATS WITH NO RUDDERS.”-ME
Sure, most ‘traditional’ recognition programs follow the corporate trend of allocating dollars to gifts, trinkets, plaques and other worthless pieces of metal meant to mean something. It is true, any recognition is good recognition. After all, who doesn’t like to be recognized?
The question you really must ask yourself is this: has it worked?
Do you track happiness or increased productivity after an employee receives their annual gift? Are you tracking whether or not your employees spend time recognizing their peers? Are you paying attention to those that leave by doing exit interviews? Do you track anything around your engagement efforts at all?
The first step, before understanding what to track, is understanding what you want out of these efforts in the first place.
“TRACK SOMETHING, ANYTHING.” -ME
Like my workout regimen. I made a new plan to track certain variables further down the “fitness chain.” Instead of focusing on my “weight,”I started tracking how many minutes I spent above my max-heart rate. I set a goal and only measured a “successful” workout as one that surpassed that goal. Soon enough, I noticed I was creeping back towards my overall goal of losing weight. I knew max-heartrate was the easiest way for me to judge whether or not my workouts were pushing my limits and pushing me towards that overall goal.
Why? Well, just prior to this new plan, I volunteered to help a friend move and after only one hour of work – I was exhausted. I knew I needed a change.
You hope your recognition program works and you have no reason to believe it doesn’t. But you hesitate, because any indicators of performance outcomes have been hard to pin down. In most circumstances, this uncertainty derives from two common deficiencies:
- A company’s purpose for employee recognition is not clearly defined.
- The employee’s purpose is not the same as the company’s purpose.
What I’ve listed below is a surefire way to first ask “why” you even have (or are looking) at an employee engagement/recognition program.
Also, I’ve listed a few easy ways to track how effective your efforts are.
“WHY DO WE HAVE THIS, AGAIN?” – Every Mid-level Manager
Don’t lose the momentum your genuine efforts at creating a transparent and authentic culture is creating. You can literally move mountains with your people IF they know their hard work is appreciated.
Follow this simple TWO-STEP guide to gauge WHY you even have an employee recognition program:
STEP ONE: Assemble the people/stakeholders/decision makers/committee in charge of recognition/engagement:
- Evaluate existing core values: What are they? What do they mean to the organization? What do they mean to the overall mission and purpose?
- Write down 5 goals for the upcoming year.
- Mark down the exact core values needed to accomplish those goals.
- Collect the most recent recognition from your recognition program and divide the recognition by the core values they espouse (the closest).
- Ask the team, with the moments of recognition divided by core value: Do the actions that led to these moments help us move towards our future goals?
- If the answer is ‘yes’, tally it. If it’s ‘no’, tally that, too. Now, who wins? If it’s the ‘no’ group then you need to look at a new program HERE. If it’s yes. Move onto step two.
STEP TWO: Create real-time KPI’s(Key Performance Indicators) to evaluate your employee recognition program’s effectiveness. Below, is a list of a few to help you get started.
- Total recognition moments per month: This one is pretty self-explanatory. The more- the better.
- Average recognition given per employee per month: The best recognition is given every 4-7 days. If you’re tracking this by year, then you have a BIG problem.
- Total % mentioned: What percentage of your total employee base is mentioned in recognition moments each month? Leaders/managers should be recognizing groups or multiples each time they recognize which means more are being recognized per moment. Your percentage should be above 50%.
- Leadership recognition ratio or LRR:This is a stat we track and here’s what it means and how to track it. Basic formula: Total recognition given by managers / Total recognition given by non-management. The total moments of recognition given by managers should be almost 2x the total amount of recognition given by general employees. The MOST engaged culture’s at the most engaged workplaces blow this ratio out of the park.
Need help understanding what to do with that data? Have no fear: EMAIL ME and I’d be glad to help answer any questions. No “fees,” just help.