Blow it up. Drive a stake through its heart. Take it out to the woodshed. Choose your metaphor but this is what most companies should do to their employee recognition program.
Why? One simple reason – it’s not working.
OK – maybe we should take a step back here. If you define “working” as the ability to identify when an employee reaches a milestone and then give them a gift in a timely manner – then your employee recognition program is probably working.
Any company happy with those results is setting a pretty low bar for their employee recognition program. It’s also likely that they are wasting their money. Here’s why:
Employee recognition programs should not exist in a vacuum. They should be part of your overall talent management strategy. If this is simply a transactional event then it has little impact on the employee or your business. Recognition is a vital tool in your arsenal, use it wisely or lose it.
Employees value sincere acknowledgement of their achievements more than the gift. This is not to say the gift is not important – it is. However, employees want more than a pro forma exercise or event. They want to know their efforts are valued and appreciated. Otherwise the gift will almost certainly be soon forgotten.
Your employees are different. This is one of the biggest changes over the past 10 years. Your employees are likely more diverse in their approach and attitude towards work than ever. Your recognition plans and strategy must embrace and account for these differences.