The story of awards and recognition

By : |November 24, 2015 0
OC Tanner

Sonal Desai

Recognition is about giving credit where it is due; imagine an employee receiving his/her 5 years anniversary award which just is sitting on their table without any value?

Zubin Zack, Director and Chief Recognition Strategist, OC Tanner, speaks exhaustively about the new trends in HR and the importance of awards and recognition at the right time, in an exclusive interview with CIOL.

Employee recognition programs are a recent hit in the enterprise as well as the SMB segments globally. What are the recent interesting trends you have observed in various industries?
Organizations want to leverage recognition as a strategic leadership tool. Real-time analytics will have a profound impact on recognition solutions as it will provide better understanding of behavior, both manager and employees, evaluate performance.

Organizations are now focusing on effective recognition programs from varied perspectives that range from controlling attrition rate, innovation and engagement scores.

For mid-sized companies, it is consolidation of the program through a technology system to structure and measure budget utilization and leveraging best practices. Further, use of symbols into the recognition system, involving family and friends, introducing peer to peer recognition are trends that are seen increasingly in our business.

There is also a tendency to overdo things. For instance too much recognition one quarter and then a lag. Does this not impact the employee morale?
There is nothing called over appreciation if done authentically, effectively and consistently. Devoid of all that, it can create issues like affecting employee morale.

Untrained managers, anonymous behaviors, mis-communicated recognition parameters across organizations and unnoticed recognition moments could back fire the whole objective of the recognition program. There could be possibilities of personal judgment and peers or colleagues may feel cheated thinking that they have been treated unfair.

To avoid misunderstanding, it is essential for managers to build a culture of authentic and consistent recognition. In order to be successful, programs should be planned and communicated in advance and communicated in advance to each department and employee.

What is the evaluation process an organization must have in place for awards and recognition?
There are many evaluation parameters that should be aligned with the company objectives. Companies should constantly measure the ROI on the recognition based on predefined metrics like utilization of the program, engagement scores and attrition.

Measurement is an essential factor for the success of the program.

What are a majority of mistakes enterprises commit in awards and recognition?
The concept of recognition and awards is to motivate and encourage employees to contribute to their own success, and to that of the business. Some of the notable mistakes that we have seen companies make are:

  • Enterprises investing in implementing recognition programs without an effective communication plan that involves employees at all levels
  • Companies that fail to sync recognition solutions with their business objectives,
  • Awards and recognition offered with a lack of thoughtfulness, sincerity and importance
  • Recognition is about giving credit where it is due; imagine an employee receiving his/her 5 years anniversary award which just is sitting on their table without any value?In the hindsight, the manager could have created a unique experience for the employee by celebrating his or her tenure by involving colleagues, family, friends and recognizing the great work and unique contributions made by the employee during the years in an organization.

    What are the challenges and how can OC Tanner help? Is recognition largely an HR responsibility?
    Recognition is the responsibility of each and every employee starting with the leadership team. Each employee needs to understand that if they consider this as a part of their day to day business it will make this easier and accelerate business goals. When they understand this and make it a part of the culture the real impact is visible.

    Being the largest recognition company, we are the leaders in the recognition business and bring more than 88 years of rich experience of working with more than 8,000 clients across the globe. We understand company’s business objectives, study their culture, people and with the help of on-going research and findings produced by OC Tanner Institute, we help them design a unique and customized solutions. We not only design but implement it at each level and measure it on an on-going basis to evaluate the performance and improvise it over the years.

    Apart from an intuitive technology platform with exclusive benefits, we help leaders and managers by offering customized training, sharing best practices, online and offline tools that will facilitate them in recognizing their employees effectively. Company’s culture will never change if the programs objectives are not effectively communicated to the employees at all divisions.

    We understand the company’s ecosystem and design a customize communication that would resonate with the employees. Our success is proven by our 26 clients including OC Tanner who are part of the top Fortune 100 best places to work in most of these areas.

    How does technology help?
    Technology is used to leverage peer to peer recognition making it easy for employees to recognize, real-time analytics across the organization for managers to understand the behavioral pattern, utilization of the program, ease of broadcasting recognition moments, inbuilt tips and surveys, inbuilt e- learning certifications on recognition etc.

    Can your name some customers in India and globally, and how have they benefited from your services?
    Dow Chemical, Qualcomm, Bank of America, Northern Trust and Informatica are some where we have seen impact on their objectives in India and globally. Each company has their own business goals and timelines. We have measured their individual successes.

    What are some of the best practices which CXOs can follow to better the process?
    Make this as a part of your day-to-day business. This is the most underutilized leadership lever and would request them to invest in the same and consider this as a strategic pillar on their growth plans.

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