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Recognition in The Real World
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2020 Trends in Recognition

Posted By Administration, Thursday, January 30, 2020

Recognition Professionals International strives to stay on top of the latest trends in employee recognition and engagement. Some of our leaders and other experts shared their thoughts on what actions will lead to success in 2020. Leadership attention on six trends will help keep your organization’s recognition strategy on target in the coming year.

The Wholistic Recognition Program

“Companies are taking a hard look at what they are recognizing — and more and more, they are taking a more wholistic approach to their programs,” says R. Scott Russell, CRP, CEP, Director – Engagement Strategies at C.A. Short Company. “An organization that once only recognized performance is now recognizing wellness, performance and safety — tying all three areas together into a well-planned and strategic initiative. In some instances, organizations are even recognizing employees for community involvement and volunteerism. Companies are learning how to utilize their platforms and vendors to create an atmosphere of appreciation and overlapping areas of engagement.

A Focus on Wholistic Wellness

It is crucial to focus on employee wellness when creating an engaged workplace, but it is so much more than just physical health. Employees are more engaged when their emotional and mental needs are met, and they can see their work as beneficial to their health. R. Scott Russell says, “While wellness and recognition have been partnered trends for some time, we are now seeing this as a bigger factor in the marketplace.”

A 2018 study by Gallup found that 54% of disengaged employees believe that their work has a negative impact on their health. However, 62% of engaged employees believe that their work has a positive impact on their health. As you can see, wellness and engagement go hand-in-hand, and wellness has the potential to change employees’ attitudes toward their work.

According to Forbes contributor and Total Wellness founder Alan Kohll, wholistic wellness can be achieved by fostering a positive community in the workplace. This might include creating health-oriented habits together or participating in challenges. Caring for employees’ wellness makes them feel important to the team and creates more positivity.

A Virgin Pulse survey found that 85% of companies believe their wellness programs fostered engagement. When employees are healthier and happier, they are more motivated and more willing to see work as beneficial to their own lives.

Quality Performance Feedback

The effectiveness of annual performance reviews has often been debated, making employers wonder if they are worth the effort. However, when properly conducted, performance meetings can motivate your employees and help you improve, too.

James R. Bailey, professor of leadership at the George Washington School of Business, encourages leaders to give feedback the way that they would want to receive it. This can be done by using specific examples and ending on a positive note. Theresa Harkins-Schulz, SPHR, CCP, CRP, senior VP of Customer Experience at Inspirus, says, “Don’t just share feedback, ask how you can help. Seek their feedback and thank them for sharing.”

According to Erika Rasure, assistant professor of Business and Financial Services at Maryville University, annual reviews should not be the only time your employees receive feedback. Informal check-ins set a consistent tone and set expectations, allowing employees to feel more comfortable and confident in the work they are doing.

According to Business News Daily writer Kiely Kuligowski, feedback sessions also open up space for your employees to give you feedback and help you see what is and is not working in the workplace. This shows that the employee’s opinion is valued and important to your mission as a company.

Social Media Recognition and Integration

Millennials now make up the largest share of the workforce, and Gen-Z is already starting to arrive in offices all over the world. Many Gen-Z employees do not even remember a world without social media. For them, it is a natural way to communicate, and embracing it will help you motivate your new generation of employees.

Stephen Baer, Forbes contributor and head of Creative Strategy and Innovation at the Game Industry, explains that social media fosters collaboration. For example, the office of Volkswagen Ireland has about 195 employees that began using Workplace, a social media platform created by Facebook. After using the platform, the company reported greater efficiency and fewer emails.

John O’Brien, vice president of Employee Performance at BI Worldwide, explains that these generations value recognition through social media. In an increasingly mobile and flexible workforce, social media is a great way to show appreciation to your employees.

Experience-Focused Rewards

Contrary to popular belief, monetary rewards are not as satisfying as other employee rewards. In RPI’s 2019 virtual conference, Dr. Brad Shuck explained the difference between the should-self versus the want-self. If you give an employee a cash bonus, their should-self will likely want to use that bonus for something practical such as gas or groceries instead of something they want. Dr. Shuck encourages employers to think outside the box and give employees something that will bring more joy.

John O’Brien of BI Worldwide explains that giving employees experiences like cooking classes or movie passes is far more effective than cash bonuses — you are giving them a memory to treasure. R. Scott Russell adds, “It’s not only the Millennial generation that values experiences over product; others have come on board to support this emerging trend in recognition. Experiential award options are now the norm in any great recognition program.”

Dina Gerdeman, writer for Forbes India, says employees want to feel appreciated by their managers. Allowing them the flexibility to work at home, giving them a gift card to their favorite restaurant or just a genuine thank-you are all ways to make your employee feel appreciated and motivated.

It Starts at the Top

Theresa Harkins-Schulz emphasizes the importance of top leaders in enriching the employee experience. “Candidates and employees want to understand a company’s purpose and how they will make an impact on the world with their product and service. Today’s employees look for authentic leaders who listen and seek ways to share wisdom and connect employees with opportunities to learn and grow.”

Access to Dr. Brad Shuck’s session from the 2019 RPI Virtual Conference is available for purchase in the RPI Learning Center.

Read more about RPI's 7 Best Practice Standards®

Tags:  employee engagement  employee experience  performance  social recognition  trends in recognition  wellness 

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Future Trends in Recognition: How Research is Pulling Us Forward

Posted By Kathie Pugaczewski, Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Recogniton Plan Training

Dr. Brad Shuck, University of Louisville was a featured speaker on RPI’s first ever Virtual Conference in October. Below are some key highlights and summary of his session. You can get the full on-demand session at the RPI Learning Center.

When we think about recognition, we think about engagement, value propositions and how all that wraps up into an employee experience.  Years ago we didn't have the research that helped us understand that employee experience. But today we do have evidence-based research that can help us drive that practice.

What we found that we were really missing was a framework to understand how engagement really happens. We knew that engagement existed and it is connected to recognition. We knew that if we could develop cultures of engagement, that if we could dive into that, we could drive these outcomes that were really important. And that when people felt recognized for their work when they said things like, “I'm doing meaningful work here”, “I feel like my coworkers have my back, “when I feel like my work is connected to something that's bigger than me.”  

When people had these things, they reported higher levels of engagement overall. So now there's this real kind of deep understanding about engagement. Let me just give you my definition of when I say employee engagement or job engagement or work engagement – “the maintenance, the intensity and the direction of effort and energy that we give to something.”  I'm maintaining a presence and a place in this space. I'm giving it direction. That engagement without, for just engagement sake is in a vacuum. But real engagement has maintenance, it has direction, and then it has this balance of intensity. This feeling of I'm going towards something and seeing this is, this is what distinguishes engagement from almost every other job attitude variable out there from things like job satisfaction or organization commitment that when we really dig into the idea of engagement as being dynamic and having a balance of intensity, that I'm moving towards something, it transforms into something that is uniquely special.. The other thing that I love about engagement when we frame it from this perspective is that not only is it life giving and so many ways it's people who tell us that they work in places where they believe that their work matters, that they, they have joy, that they feel cared for.  

Recogniton Plan Training

Where engagement is high, they tell us that their lives are transformed and so engagement is not transactional. Engagement is transformational. It's you give to me and I give to you and this dynamic proportion, but engagement is this transformational variable that takes everything to the next level. What's really, really clear about this in the research for us is that spaces have recognition. Experiences of recognition are directly connected.

For the full presentation of this compelling research, go to the RPI Learning Center. All five on-demand virtual conference sessions with handouts are now available for purchase on the RPI Learning Center. Each hours is $25 for premium and business partner members and $35 for others.

Tags:  employee engagement  employee experience  recognition strategies  trends in recognition  value proposition 

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