5 Minor Program Changes That Deliver Major Impact

February 11, 2022 Sarah Bloznalis

do something greatRecognition can have a positive impact on organizational culture. Your investment in Workhuman® has the potential to be punching above its weight in terms of employee relationships, affinity, and employee experience. How can you get the most out of it?

As you bring your recognition program to the next level, you may be wondering: What are some simple tweaks that can deliver even more of these dividends and increase your return on investment?

You’re in luck. There are some simple program design features we recommend for maximizing the impact of your recognition spend. Some you may already be doing, and others you may have earmarked to be integrated later. As you swing into the next stage of your recognition journey, we recommend you consider integrating all of them into your program.

1. Empower your employees to thank one another.

Recognition from leadership is important for employees to feel valued and appreciated. When it comes to feeling included and noticed, however, nothing beats peer-to-peer recognition. In fact, according to Workhuman research, employees who feel recognized and who are satisfied with recognition programs report feeling significantly prouder of their company.

Everyone-to-everyone recognition is a quick and easy way to immediately multiply the impact of your program, creating more authentic moments and deepening connections within your organization. This both increases program adoption and boosts a sense of belonging for both givers and recipients of recognition awards. Studies show that cultivating and expressing gratitude can provide significant benefits to employee well-being and engagement. A healthy multilateral exchange of recognition also helps to deepen organization-wide feelings of belonging as more people are able to be noticed and thanked.

Peer-to-peer recognition also serves a very practical, beneficial purpose. With more observers on the front lines, good work is much more likely to be noticed, rewarded, and repeated. Peers are able to see potentially hidden behavior that managers may miss or that might go unrecognized by managers who are not as adept at awarding recognition.

2. Put more multimedia in your recognition moments.

Have you enabled video and images in your recognition platform? Adding the ability to upload audio, video, and imagery – and leading by example – can enrich the social recognition feed and underscore the emotional power of your recognition program.

Approximately 65% of humans are visual learners, and science has shown that visuals are both more emotionally engaging for people and also more memorable and lasting in the long term. In fact, in one study, users retained only 10-20% of written and spoken information after three days, but close to 65% of visual information made it into long-term memory.

Encouraging visual and audio content in milestones and recognition moments also makes those awards more likely to attract the attention of people browsing the news feed – leading to more congratulations that can elevate the impact of every recognition moment. The inclusion of images can make the moment more lighthearted or emotional for recipients and observers and boost morale for everyone involved. And because making a video or uploading an image also takes a little extra investment on the part of the giver, it increases the emotional engagement between the givers and recipients of recognition and makes the award that much more meaningful.

3. Use recognition and feedback to create a virtual social meeting place.

Dispersed teams are a reality of modern business – now more than ever. According to IWG research, back in 2019, more than two-thirds of professional workers worldwide already worked remotely at least one day a week. After the pandemic, 97% of remote workers say they would like to work remotely, at least some of the time, for the rest of their careers.

Companies with remote workers have lower turnover, lower stress, and higher productivity, but the one place they fall short is in creating strong social ties. Even in 2019, employees reported that their number one problem with remote working (19%) was social isolation.

With a minimum of effort, you can turn your social recognition news feed into a kind of virtual town square. Having Conversations® or Community Celebrations® as part of your Workhuman platform helps ensure your dispersed teams are more happy, connected, and productive. By turning on peer-to-peer recognition and allowing peers to request feedback from one another, you can also create virtual spaces in your culture for noticing, encouraging, and celebrating accomplishments. Encourage employees to participate and connect with peers in these spaces.

4. Establish increased governance and cost controls.

One way to enable a more functional recognition program for everyone is to use controls, approvals, and governance to allow your program to reach more people within the organization. Now that your program has been put through its paces for a while, it’s a great time for you to revisit your review process, approvals thresholds, and cost controls.

Are there opportunities to increase award levels for at-risk positions and help to lower voluntary turnover? Could you revisit the levels at which recognition can be awarded without additional approvals? Is there a way to remove friction at lower levels to increase the flow of lower-value awards? Can you establish new criteria for spend management to open up recognition at higher levels?

The Workhuman platform offers advanced dashboards and insights for reporting on utilization and spend and establishing clearer ROI for your organization. Consult with your customer success team for advice on how you can adjust your governance and reporting to best match how recognition is happening in your organization now.

5. Align teams and awards with strategic initiatives and values.

One of the most powerful capabilities for your recognition program is as a culture management tool to help ease organizational change. Use your recognition data to understand how values and objectives are thriving now or tie awards to cultural pillars or goals for upcoming cultural change.

Are you undergoing a merger in the current year? Establish an award category or emphasize an existing value like “belonging” to encourage employees to welcome new colleagues and assimilate more quickly.

You can also use recognition data intersectionality to help pursue DE&I objectives and to better understand relationships among different populations or workgroups. This not only helps you boost inclusion – it also prevents siloing and helps you to flag affinity groups, cliques, or isolated groups within the organization.

About the Author

Sarah Bloznalis

Sarah Bloznalis is a content marketing coordinator at Workhuman from Dorchester, Mass. When she's not writing about the future of work you can find her in the library, at the beach, or exploring the city.

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