A recognition programme is all about the emotional connect and not about the number of appreciation notes exchanged or the number of people logged onto the platform.
Incentives can make people aspire and go an extra mile, for the reward in the end. The mechanism works well, in terms of encouraging people to perform at work. However, to develop a culture of appreciation, the recognition mechanism will have to be executed carefully so that tick-in-the-box acts meant to simply grab the end incentive can be prevented. Appreciation or recognition will never have the true/desired impact on the receiver, until it has an honest appeal—an emotional connect!
A recognition programme cannot really be measured by the number of people who have logged onto the platform or the number of appreciations or ‘thank you’ notes exchanged on it. A successful recognition system is based on emotional connect, with the objective of bringing about a culture of appreciation. It should introduce a better culture that keeps people more motivated and engaged than earlier. Hence, the real impact of recognition can be gauged by how much more happy or responsive, people feel after the programme.
One look around the company is enough to find out if people look more content than before the recognition programme, or whether they smile more and whine less, and whether they connect with each other better than before. These are indications of the effectiveness of a recognition programme.
To begin with, one can look at how employees engage over a recognition platform. For instance, when someone appreciates or wishes luck or thanks a colleague, do they simply go the single-click route and send out a pre-formatted post? This could just be a formality, unlike someone who personalises it by adding a note about the ‘why’ behind the appreciation, gratitude or good-luck wish. It can be compared to receiving a beautiful greeting card without a message inside! Imagine how that feels.
Take for instance this post that does not have any personalised details.
Now, compare it with this appreciation post that clearly mentions the efforts for which the receiver is being appreciated. This appreciation message seems more credible and genuine as compared to the one shared before.
That little extra effort someone makes to personalise and exactly say why and for what they are recognising or thanking someone, goes a long way in determining its real emotional impact. The standard metrics, in terms of the data gathered from the programme over time, such as the number of people engaged on the platform, or the number of recognitions made, are just numbers! It does not indicate the real impact. Therefore, it is crucial to think and plan wisely, while incentivising recognition efforts, such that the genuineness isn’t lost.
While the recognition platforms are the first step and a great way to make recognition a habit and gradually build it as a culture, one cannot just go by the numbers that the platform ultimately produces. The numbers certainly provide meaningful information, but do not actually measure programme effectiveness. People are complex beings, beyond the understanding of sheer numbers. Therefore, the real impact of such solutions is not easy to gauge.
A better way to measure programme effectiveness is to analyse the content rather than just the numbers. It is important to look at how people are interacting with each other over the platform. Is the same set of people receiving or sharing appreciation over time or are people across levels and functions engaging?
Keep observing the employees. Do they still stick to their workstations or have they begun acknowledging others in the hallway? Do you see more smiling faces now, as compared to before? Do the employees appear to feel more valued? Do people look more energetic and connect better, even beyond work?
If you find positive responses to each of these questions and your conversations with people reveal a happier force, you can revel in peace about your recognition programme working well. As mentioned earlier, just watch out for a change in behaviours and people interactions. This will give you a fair idea of the effectiveness of the programme. While there could be other factors contributing to a change, a recognition programme, when adopted well, certainly has the power to bring about visible changes in workforce-engagement levels.
Watch this video to know more on how new-age rewards and recognition tools uplift employee morale.