This second blog on how recognition programs can pay multiple dividends focuses on Infrequency
The most impactful recognition comes frequently — even daily — yet most recognition programs often focus on distant milestones like work anniversaries and annual reviews.
Why infrequency is a problem
Recognition that doesn’t happen close to the moment that a behaviour has been recognised isn’t likely to happen at all. It’s really that simple. And just as importantly, the longer you leave it to recognise someone, the lower the value to the recipient.
But let’s say you do have some way of cataloging all the great contributions people make every day, and plan to recognise and reward each of those contributions.
Employees would still go a long time thinking nobody appreciated their hard work if it is not recognised immediately, or close to the time the behaviour took place. When they finally do receive the recognition, it’s too little, too late.
They’ve already experienced the feelings that their work goes unappreciated. Even if that appreciation is still shown in retrospect, it’s too late to take back the time they spent feeling like their work isn’t valued.
How To Fix It
It may seem like an overwhelming challenge to recognise your entire team frequently for all they do, but you’re not going to have to do it alone.
In fact, you shouldn’t. Peer recognition should be the most often given recognition. This has been proven to have the greatest positive impact.
The key to removing this obstacle is empowering, trusting and encouraging your entire team to recognise one another’s contributions and achievements.
To quote engagement expert Josh Bersin, make it “trivially simple” for your employees to recognise their colleagues.
Prioritise the act of giving recognition as a natural and important element of your organisational culture/workday. Empower and encourage everyone in your organisation to do the same, whether they’re the CEO, or they started last week.
Recognition works best when it’s not something you have to take time out of your workday to do. It works best when it’s as natural and indispensable a part of your workday as it is to get dressed.
When you’ve got everyone in the organisation participating on some level or another — trust me — frequency won’t be a problem anymore. And bear in mind that the “recognition well” will never run dry if it is honest, personal, specific and timely.
In truth, there are a lot more ways a recognition program can go ‘right’ than go ‘wrong.’ By keeping a few key considerations in mind, you can ensure the bandwidth you’re dedicating to this effort will return the maximum value possible, and provide your team with the recognition-rich atmosphere they’ve earned.
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