Companies often ask me how they should define success when thinking about their employee recognition and rewards efforts.  My recommendation is to define it differently for each employee. That intentional, personalized focus helps companies create programs that boost employee motivation and engagement.

It’s natural for business development people or client service managers to get all the kudos for their success.  They are in BIG roles that are highly visible, and their efforts directly affect the bottom line.  Historically, companies have defined successes as big wins that turned a profit- either landing a new account or keeping a customer happy so they kept on buying.  But who is holding down the fort while those rock stars are moving and shaking?

Recognition programs that empower people to recognize their peers are helping to redefine success for companies. They are allowing those head-down workers to get the praise they deserve. The back office people who make sure the bills get paid on time or the front desk attendant who makes sure no call goes unanswered are successful, too. It may look different, but employees who play a supporting role outside of the limelight are critical to keep the machine going. Forget about them and you’ll pay for it.  I recommend you keep the following in mind when creating a successful rewards and recognition program:

Employees who do consistent work that keep the business moving are rock stars too. It doesn’t have to be flashy or game-changing to be worth your praise.

Help people to define what success looks like in their role, and then recognize them against that standard.  It’s unfair to compare the magnitude of their efforts with people in completely different parts of the business. 

Never underestimate the importance of a right-hand man or woman.  When you can count on someone to do the day-to-day, not so glamorous tasks that keep you at your best, you better appreciate them every chance you get!