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Taking Your Recognition Strategy From Revive to Thrive

HR is uniquely positioned to use this crisis as an opportunity to optimise culture, engagement and foster a competitive advantage.


@criene via Twenty20

Unleash Your PeopleWatch and learn how to use recognition to support your workforce and ensure your business becomes resilient to future disruptions.

  • Recognition is the simplest way to improve morale and employee engagement 
  • 90% of companies have some form of recognition
  • 18% of companies say their investment is ‘definitely working’ 

For many organizations, the last 12 months have been a continuous pivot as they look to realign strategic plans and make them fit for purpose in the digital world we’ve all been thurst into. The reality of remote working has been different for everyone and changes depending on the day and even the hour. At times people witness a new sense of freedom and flexibility, whilst at others they feel disconnected and burnt out.

As the workforce feels pangs of prolonged social isolation and the climate of uncertainty and disruption lingers on, employee disengagement and disillusionment are on the rise and building their resilience has never been more imperative.

So how can we support our workforce and ensure that our people and businesses are resilient to the era of change we find ourselves living in? HBR recently claimed that recognizing employees for their contributions is one of the simplest ways to impove moral. Could this also be the best way of bolstering that resilience we all desperately need? Achievers says yes and in this webinar they explain why and how.

Below are just a key themes that were addressed.

Work has changed, but humans have not.

Steve Malduca, Head of Achievers EMEA Solutions Consulting team, explained how although a lot has changed in terms of where and how work gets done, our wiring as humans remains the same. 

“The research consistently shows that for employees to be fully bought in and do the best work of their lives, at the most fundamental level they have to feel like they matter and consistently feel seen and valued,” Malduca said, “This is harder in today’s increasingly remote and globalised world.” 

According to a recent study by Mckinsey organizations can achieve a 55% improvement in engagement by addressing employees’ need for work recognition through non-financial means. Recognition has been proven to be the most scalable and simplest way to improve morale and is widely considered to be one of the strongest and most reliable drivers of engagement.  

Money spent on a recognition program that isn’t strategic is wasted. 

“Although most organisations have some kind of recognition initiative in place, only 18% claim their program is definitely working and an even more concerning 82% of employees say they don’t feel adequately recognised,” said Malduca. 

Malduca explained that the hard truth that HR must face up to when considering recognition investment is that any money spent on non-strategic recognition programs is a waste. 

“66% of non-strategic programs will not drive employee engagement—the very thing you want most from your program,” he commended. “With a program that has limited impact, you cannot build a culture of recognition and you’ll be unlikely to demonstrate a return on your investment.”  

So what does a success in recognition look like? 

Having deployed hundreds of recognition programs with some of the world’s largest and most complex organizations, Achievers have gained a solid understanding of what it takes to implement and maintain a successful recognition program that will drive key business performance metrics.  

Sonya Cattell, Head of Customer Success, EMEA, Achievers explained how program adoption and monthly active usage are critical programme health measures.  

“Just ticking a box to say you have a recognition programme is not enough, people need to be using it and regularly,” Cattell said. “Many organisations have top-down programmes that reward just a select few employees quarterly or yearly and that’s just not enough, particularly at the moment when people need more visible, digital connections with their organisations due to the dramatic increase in sustained home-working.” 

For context, at Achievers, in 1 year their customers have created more than 26 million recognition moments and with 50% monthly active users. This means 1 out of 2 employees are active on the platform every single month. 

In the webinar, Achievers gave us a sneak peek into their recognition playbook that outlines 6 key pillars a recognition program must have for it to be a success: 

  1. Inclusive  
  2. Specific
  3. Frequent
  4. Simple
  5. Continuous communication
  6. Measure what matters

Recognition can save your business millions.

Cattell wrapped up the webinar with some real-life case studies which brought their tips and best practices to life and shone the light on the real ROI of a strategic recognition strategy. She was particularly excited to tell us about Kellogg’s who came to them when they were undergoing a major business and cultural transformation and found that only 5% of employees felt recognized.  

“They partnered with us and now the average employee is recognized more than 3 times a month and they’ve experienced a double-digit reduction in turnover which has saved them millions of dollars,” Cattell said. 

General Motors also went to Achievers to align their core values to daily, peer-to-peer recognition to adapt to their culture transformation. They launched the program to 67,000 employees across 26 countries and set an Achievers record for the greatest number of activations on the first day of launch. Even more impressive, they managed to sustain this success. 

“6 out of 10 employees are actively using the platform on a monthly basis with 8 out of 10 managers sending at least one recognition a month,” Cattell told us.  

Not only did the tool give rise to employee recognition but it also acted as a driver in the culture transformation and helped employees to link the GM behaviours with their daily work.  

Read more: Making Purpose Matter: It’s not what you say, but how you see it through

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