It seems something isn’t adding up when it comes to today’s employee recognition programs. Let me explain. The vast majority of companies have some form of a recognition program in place, which is great news. It is proven time and time again that these programs can have a drastic impact on employee engagement and company performance (a recent Towers Watson study shows that managers who are good at recognizing the efforts of their team increase engagement by 60%!). So it’s good that most companies have them. But here is the strange part: most employees would be surprised to learn that their company does, in fact, have something in place that would be considered an employee recognition program.

So what gives? We’ve compiled a list of the things we’ve found to be common practices, yet might be doing more harm than good in terms of recognizing and engaging your employees. These are things you don’t want to be guilty of:

Buy a stack of gift cards and hand out as needed: The intentions behind this one are great, but the mishap usually lies in the impact, or lack thereof, that this can have. When companies buy in bulk and hand out as needed, employees often feel that the gesture was generic and easy, unfortunately causing a major lack of the intended umph. Additionally, well-deserving people are inevitably missed. If the power to give recognition lies with one or a few people, then you may notice that only the highly visible roles are the ones that are receiving recognition.

Put the power in the hands of your managers: Let’s face it. We place enough pressure and responsibility on our management and leadership teams. Let’s lighten the load and spread the joy of giving around to everyone. When you have people on the lookout for good deeds across the entire company, you’ll get a better representation of the positive things that are actually happening. When you fail to leverage the team, you will more than likely fail to recognize the deserving ones.

Put a system in place, but forget about the PR of it all: A system is a system is a system. Although some systems are far ahead in terms of engaging users, making the process fun, and promoting recognition in a public way, implementing a new process or system without the proper communications, branding, or cultural messaging can cause the sustainability to suffer. Your people want to know the process was put in place as an authentic and exciting way to recognize others. Consider supporting your process or system with an integrated communication plan (What do employees need to know about recognition? What about management? Should your clients participate?), some fun branding, and consistent messaging around why regular and public recognition is important to your culture.

Contact YouEarnedIt for support in launching a recognition and reward program that is as dynamic as your people are.  We can also help provide some key support to help you avoid these mistakes.

In parting, please see this :42 second video that explains a YouEarnedIt point-bomb! It’s a fun and simple way to engage a team around recognizing an individual: