I find that Employee Recognition is one of the least defined parts of Total Reward Management.
Unlike fixed and variable pay practices, that are predominantly logical, measures and (if you keep on top of them) relatively organised, Employee Recognition needs to be immediate, emotional and tailored to the person and the achievement you are recognising. Different people require very different levels of recognition – what is just the right amount of recognition for some, could seem cynically exaggerated or not nearly enough for others . Instead of logic, recognition relies on a “gut feel”. You shouldn’t hope to bring much structure into recognition, as it will quickly become mundane. For the same reason, you also have to change your recognition vehicles quite often.
Ultimately, whether monetary or not, Recognition comes down to managers’ capability first and organisational culture second. HR can create platforms and opportunities, but at the end of the day.. managers and employees make it happen.
I don’t know about you, but I naturally gravitate to the clarity and almost mathematical beauty of the fixed reward. Maybe I feel there is enough people in HR to do the ”emotional stuff”, like supporting the culture and developing management capability. Nevertheless it is critically important for our profession to be aware of Employee Recognition and there are plenty of ways in which we can support it.
At the risk of sounding obvious – most people aren’t motivated by a pay check. To get the most out of people, they need to be recognised on an on-going basis. It is best if recognition comes from people that individuals interact with on a daily basis – like peers, managers and clients.
When researching this topic I came across an idea of peer-to-peer spot bonuses. Say, you give each employee a $50 annual budget for recognising others in their organisation. They can nominate anyone at any time for any amount within this budget. I would recommend a little personal note should come with the money. For a 1,000 employee company it is a $50,000 annual spend. If all other “hygiene” factors are in order, e.g. fixed and variable pay is equitable, roles are clearly defined and org culture is satisfactory, I believe the ROI in boosted morale can by far outweigh the investment. What do you think?
How do you tackle Employee Recognition?
Remuneration and Benefits Manager