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How to create an engagement program employees will love

Getting caught up in the mire of research and opinions about whether or not rewards work can drive one to drink—or something stronger! It’s especially true if you have a large workforce and are getting pressure from the top to produce results. What kind of behavior changes are you looking to achieve in your workplace? What measurements are you using that confirm certain behaviors are improving?

We know what doesn’t work. Compliance is not engagement. Fear isn’t respect. Intimidation creates costly turnover. Cooperation isn’t always collaboration. Throwing only cash or rewards at your workforce will produce only temporary changes in attitude and behavior.

The Pavlov approach to changing employee behavior gets a one-time response at best. Once the reward runs out, your employees will often revert to their old ways. Losing weight, showing up on time, quitting smoking, practicing safety, contributing ideas, saving money, or improving sales are all goals that need more than a pat on the back or a new TV. You can spend a lot of money—only to get a temporary result.

So do rewards work?

The answer will depend on how your programs are designed and implemented. What you want is the best use of your organization’s resources for long-term positive and productive performance. Here’s a hint—sincere and deserved recognition is the foundation.   

Topics: retaining your valued employees Communication Employee Engagement Safety Employee Retention Employee Recognition Sales Performance Peer to peer recognition tangible reward Attendance Employee Incentive Programs

More success stories from the employee engagement archives

It’s not difficult to make the case that the ongoing financial mess on Wall Street and TARP payments to some of the country’s biggest banks have victimized smaller firms. One victim is the investment management industry. A big challenge becomes being able to assure clients they can continue to trust them with their money.

As we have emphasized in previous blogs, having a workplace that engenders a culture of respect, engagement, trust, and fairness will aid in empowering your organization to keep clients. And how do you do that?

By inspiring your most valuable asset—your employees. When individual employees feel a part of the whole, they will invest more of their efforts on your customer’s behalf. And your customers will respond positively. Often a customer’s only perception of your business comes from their interaction with your employees. That presents a wonderful opportunity for you to become remembered as the deliverer of a great brand experience. The perception of being a caring organization will resonate well within the marketplace.

The employee factor is a powerful asset you already have that can offset market conditions. So ask yourself—what is your client’s perception of your company? Is their interaction with your organization conducive to them staying? Is your customer’s recollection of their entire experience with you, at all touch points, a good one? Is your organization still cautious about implementing an employee recognition and rewards program? Do these programs really work? Here are some success stories guaranteed to reassure you of the value of employee interaction.

Companies that have embraced the power of engagement

Topics: Communication Employee Engagement Employee Retention Employee Recognition Peer to peer recognition Performance performance improvement solutions

How and when to start a peer recognition program

The top three employee incentive programs are: length of service, outstanding service, and peer recognition. Why peer employee recognition? Peer programs offer an organization great benefits. They are relatively easy to develop, they are inexpensive, they involve large groups of employees, and they fulfill the demand of being recognized by coworkers. The mantra? Recognition feels good—especially from colleagues.

A well designed peer initiative brings a good experience to the receiver as well as the giver. More and more organizations may be catching on, but the truth is, peer recognition programs are not a new idea.

In 1895, Alfred Nobel established the Norwegian Nobel committee of peers awarding the Nobel Peace Prize for promoting fraternity between nations. Categories expanded to include contributions in chemistry, physics, literature, physiology, and medicine. Winners are awarded medals, diplomas, and money.

Since 1929, film stars have been acknowledged by their peers for outstanding performance. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, originally conceived by MGM’s Louis B. Mayer, helped improve the film industry’s image and mediate labor disputes. As the first winner, Emil Jannings held up his “Oscar” in triumph while acknowledging his peers with, “I’d like to thank the Academy.” The UN uses a type of peer recognition to recognize and give awards to delegates for their outstanding service.

The rise in peer recognition programs today is due to the rising pressures on managers and HR to oversee more employees and larger teams. Workplace conflicts and a heavier workload leave less time for those in charge to focus on employee development and engagement. Peer programs fill in the gap because this method of recognition supports camaraderie, develops employee leaders, and strengthens a sense of ownership in your mission. Simply put, peers banding together in mutual recognition for doing meaningful work engages, motivates, and raises performance levels.

In a very real sense, employees operating their own recognition and rewards system is a type of employee ownership—a type of stock ownership and shared capitalism. The latest research findings on the benefits of employee ownership coincide with the results using peer recognition. The trust, respect, fairness, and pride index goes up. Your company becomes recognized as a great place to work with lower turnover.

The peer-to-peer recognition program—and your mission

Topics: Communication Employee Engagement Loyalty Programs awards Employee Recognition Sales Performance Peer to peer recognition