There is a concept in the world of debating that you might be familiar with, called a “value-criterion“. In a nutshell, it is a statement about what you value most— that guides you in making decisions and evaluating success.
Judges use value-criteria as a filter to weigh various arguments. If an accepted value-criterion is about safety, for example, arguments about protecting privacy rights will carry far less weight than those about protecting someone’s life.
When it comes to recognition, value-criteria become your goals for the program. But more than that, they are also a roadmap—helping you to decide exactly what to prioritize as you create or manage your program. A strong set of value-criteria will always be critical when you need to make tough decisions about what sort of recognition to practice.
So before you decide if your recognition program is successful, and before you make any more changes to it, make sure you’ve figured out what your top few value-criteria are. What is the outcome you’re ultimately trying to achieve? What is most important to you as you pursue it? What are the must-win battles?
The answers to these questions are not the same for every company.
In order to ensure that you build the right program for your organization, consider listing and ranking your top three value-criteria. That doesn’t mean you have to let go of the others. (I’m thinking of the old cartoon that I used to see tacked up on the wall at the registry of motor vehicles. It said: “We offer three kinds of service: fast, cheap, good. Pick any two.”)
Thankfully, strategic recognition that follows best practices will rarely limit you like that. It will always offer benefits across the board—no matter which two or three criteria you prioritize. But focusing WILL allow you to better design and better measure the success of the program you create, so that it is specific to the needs of your organization.
Here are a few value-criteria for strategic recognition that you might want to use as a checklist to get you started. Remember, depending on how you construct it, a good strategic recognition program can achieve all of these things, but a better focus will always lead to better results.
A Checklist of Value Criteria for Recognition
___ I want to emotionally engage my employees with the company
___ I want to ensure our corporate values are understood by all employees
___ I want to enable my employees to overcome roadblocks and frustration
___ I want to see the vast majority of my employees touched by recognition
___ I want to encourage people at all levels to recognize their coworkers
___ I want to encourage communication and relationships among my employees
___ I want to improve my business and financial results
___ I want to unify a diverse set of cultures into one
___ I want a universal, global and equitable reward program
___ I want to improve employee happiness and reduce turnover
___ I want to ensure compliance with internal and external regulations
___ I want to keep costs under control
___ I want to consolidate multiple programs
___ I want all recognition rewards to be compliant with tax codes
___ I want deeper insight into my culture and values
___ I want deeper insight into my employees and their performance
___ I want data that will let me better manage or drive change
Once you’ve identified the top three value-criteria for your program, make sure that everything you do helps to meet these goals. It will keep you focused, and it will help ensure your success.