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Recognition in The Real World
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Mistakes To Avoid In Your Incentive Program

Posted By Ava Ewald, Tuesday, March 3, 2020
 RPI is at the forefront of recognition program development. They have developed their 7 Best Practice Standards ® to help you develop a great recognition program for your organization. Standard 5 is recognition training and Standard 7 is recognition change and flexibility. Both are important when creating and refining your program. Below are mistakes to avoid when implementing an incentive program.

 

Incentive programs are a great way to motivate you employees and boost morale. However, there are some things that can prevent your program from succeeding. Forbes contributors Bill Fotsch and John Case described asking a group of conference attendees if they felt their company’s incentive program was effective and only a few hands were raised. Fotsch and Case detailed what to avoid to have the most successful program.

 

1.      Avoid isolating individuals as much as you can

Fotsch and Case explained that incentive programs have the potential to garner resentment among employees who may feel left out. They explained that giving a bonus to sales staff could make those in the customer service department feel unappreciated.

-          Harvard Business Review stated that incentives have the capacity to make others feel punished if they do not receive a reward.

-          Incentives within specific departments are great, but make the goals as specific to the department as you can.

 

2.      Make sure employees are involved in creating the program

The article warns against creating a program without input from those who will participate. Fotsch and Case said that many incentive programs come from companies’ human resources departments. While well-intentioned, programs created by another department can fail to reflect the needs and culture of that team.

-          When creating an incentive program, invite a few employees from the team you want to motivate to give their thoughts.

 

3.      Do not let it disappear

Fotsch and Case warned against letting your program disappear. Too many programs are announced with excitement only to not be mentioned again within a month. If employees are not assured that the program is still happening, motivation will disappear.

-          Add check-ins into your regular company newsletter or mention it at meetings to remind employees that the program is still going on and to keep them informed on its progress.

 

4.      Make sure you actually have the budget to implement the program.

At the end of the program, everyone meets the goal and you need to hand out the rewards. It may be easy to plan a 6-month-long incentive program and assume that you will have the budget by the time you reach the end, but Fotsch and Case argued that this is where many plans fall through. Factor recognition and incentives into your budget so that there are fiscal barriers at the end of your program.

-          When creating and budgeting for your program, assume that your whole team will hit their goal.

-          Showing that incentive programs do provide benefits will set a precedent for future programs.

 

5.      Make sure the program will not promote bad behavior.

We saw this with Wells Fargo in 2016 when employees received a benefit for each new account they opened. The incentive was so motivating that many employees engaged in unethical behavior to receive their rewards.

-          Be there to support those in the program. Ask how they are doing and keep track of their progress.

 

Become an RPI member! Learn how here.

 

To learn more about RPI’s 7 Best Practice Standards, click here.

 

 

Tags:  awards  incentives  rewards  RPI 7 Best Practices 

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RPI Honors BAE Systems & University of Calgary with 2018 Best Practice Awards

Posted By Sue Yoemans, Friday, May 11, 2018

 

BAE Systems and the University of Calgary took home the top honors at the recent Recognition Professionals International Annual Convention in Nashville. It was the first time RPI has had a tie for the top award, as both BAE Systems and the University of Calgary received the honor.

BAE Systems was recognized for embracing RPI’s Seven Best Practice Standards. Like many organizations, BAE Systems applied for the award in the past and last year received three Excellence in Standards awards. BAE Systems has a company-wide program to recognize and reward employee accomplishments, which are strongly tied to their performance and living their cultural values.

The strength of the BAE Systems recognition program comes from the fact that it was designed by its employees and grows because they are vested and have ownership of the program and the tools. BAE Systems regularly and responsibly reviews each program for its responsiveness to employee needs. Their program utilization, which has risen by over 200% in the past four years, has become a key measurement with its executive leadership team and is a part of the organization’s strategic goals for continuous improvement.

The University of Calgary is a first-time award applicant. This organization formed a cross-disciplinary Recognition Steering Committee to guide the development, implementation, and ongoing review of employee recognition in 2013. They did so understanding the key role of recognition in employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention. The Committee set out to create a recognition strategy that aligned with the university’s strategic plan and values – to provide best practice recognition programs, education and communication for all staff. To build the strategy, they used their findings from an Employee Recognition Preferences survey, the analysis of existing practices and programs as well as reviewing  recognition programs at leading universities in Canada and consulting with a third party provider.

RPI judges were impressed with the strategic way the University of Calgary embraced this process. They took the time to create a network of the right organizational champions, they ensured they had great baseline data; their program supports the goals and values of the university, and they created some fun, engaging and well-used tools.

RPI’s Best Practices Judges for 2018 were:

  • Roy Saunderson, Chief Learning Officer at Rideau Recognition
  • Shelley Judges, Senior Manager of Employee Experience for TD Business Banking and a 2010 Best Practice winner
  • Dee Hansford, who has facilitated CRP and been instrumental with two organizations’ being awarded the overall Best Practices Award.
  • Cori Champagne of MIT, the 2016 Best Overall recipient.

Tags:  Awards  Best Practice Standards  Best Practices  employee engagement 

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