I was a motivational speaker for a transportation event where we had a very stimulating discussion about recognition programs. We discussed how thoughtful recognition programs make people feel valued and respected and reinforce the meaning of the work. We also decided very few organizations use these kind of programs.
One of the pitfalls of many acknowledgement programs is they recognize people for work they are supposed to do anyway and they create entitlement - not motivation.
Most employee recognition programs cloud rather than illuminate good work. The most common reason employees fail to meet expectations is the expectations weren't properly defined in the first place. Instead of motivating exceptional behavior, they create a vague sensation that things aren't going as well as planned and failure is near.
When I was speaking for the transportation event, we discussed the following foundations for a good recognition program:
- Set goals that are measureable and have a time frame
- Hold employees accountable for the goals
Don't even bother creating an employee recognition program until you have this in place. Goals should also be a moving target. Once you accomplish it, move on and get a bigger goal. If you keep recognizing people for goals that they have already reached, you create entitlement and encourage mediocrity. Instead, continually set more goals and only recognize employees when they reach or progress towards the goal.
Read our blog, Nobody Rises to Low Expectations
Inspirational Speaker on How to Acknowlege People without Turning them Off