When I was in elementary school, one of my teachers had this customized ‘smiling A+’ stamp that she used when we did especially well on a task. If we collected five of the smiling A’s, we got a sticker that we could put on a board. The board had a column for each student, which was basically a 10-step-route going up to the ‘Palace Of Knowledge’. And what happened when we reached the palace? It was simply awesome!
Turns out I haven’t changed that much since then: I’m still collecting the smiling A’s.
The smiling A’s have in fact changed: now they are tickets and tasks to be done and when they are completed, I get one step closer to the Palace Of Knowledge in the shape of cupcakes, company outings and other rewards.
Productivity tools such as Asana, Slack and even the route to the palace make us more efficient at work. According to Globoforce’s research, 78% of employees would work harder if they were better recognized and rewarded.
Today millennials want more than just a fair salary, research suggests that the demand for remote and flexible working is at an all-time high too. When you couple this with the need for praise and gamification at work, then it’s clear that employers need to adapt.
A study performed by Bamboo HR has shown that 82% of employees feel that they are not recognized for their accomplishments at work, which in turn makes them consider leaving the company.
Rewards don’t necessarily have to be monetary, the emphasis is on recognition and thus even smaller businesses with a limited budget can come up with a great recognition program.
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How to design a good recognition program?
Why you should reward employees is now clear, however,structuring a strategy can be challenging. Here are a few tips on what to consider when designing a recognition program that improves upon productivity and helps the company and the employees alike grow.
1. Define KPIs
Finding the Key Performance Indicators is the first step on the way. How should you know what to celebrate when you don’t have a clue what to measure?
Turn to your experts and project owners, as they are the ones who can tell what KPIs are important. After you have a good understanding of what to measure, you’ll have a clearer picture of the goals.
2. Set celebration criteria
Firstly, it is important that you don’t only celebrate big accomplishments, you must embrace smaller wins too. Define 2-3 levels of a rewarding system…
When deciding on what to celebrate, you might want to ask the project owners again. What do they think they should be rewarded for? This way you can find the right things to celebrate: the goals that suit each project and make the whole of the company move forward.
3. Reward the right way
At 10to8, after the project owners plan the celebration criteria, they can also suggest the rewards. Then, of course, the suggestions are reviewed by the management, as at the end of the day, they are the ones who deal with the budget.
Instead of rewarding just one project owner, we include the whole team in the celebration. This way the project owner is recognized, gets a pat on the back and the whole team can share their success. These team events keep everybody motivated rather than resulting in unhealthy competition.
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4. Make sure to celebrate
It is easy to let things slide and forget about celebrating smaller wins, but again, this can hurt employee-recognition. Project owners should put their hands up when they hit a milestone.
Make sure though that you go through all the goals you previously defined regularly, say at the end of each quarter. Gather all the missed celebrations and make up for them.