Circles Of Influence

Circles of Influence and Social Recognition

Article written by Incentive Services University

World class athletes understand that no matter how hard they train, it’s impossible to maximize performance unless they compete. They can’t be at their best unless they measure themselves against the best. Competition, visibility and recognition fuel performance. – Incentive Services University

As organizational leaders, we know that employee recognition is crucial to maintaining motivation among quality employees. We all want to be recognized for our achievements, appreciated for our efforts and commended for our contributions. A hand-written thank you note, a tasty treat, or even an extra day of vacation can all be a grateful gesture for a job well-done.

More often, though, we are influenced by something greater than internal motivation or a private gesture of thanks. Our “circles of influence” and our levels of visibility extend to our colleagues, our leaders and even our social circles. We refer to this as social recognition. Social recognition isn’t a very complex concept. If you sum it up as the public acknowledgement of merit, you’ve pretty much hit the nail on the head. So when a manager praises an employee during a private discussion, that is not social recognition. But if that same manager honors the employee in a weekly team meeting, it is social recognition. – “4 Tips for Starting a Social Recognition Program”, TribeHR Staff, January 16, 2013

While social recognition may not fit in all situations, research shows that more and more employees want to connect with their workplace community – and with one another – through technology. Use of a corporate intranet for social recognition can help employees to feel appreciated, connected and can set a standard for employee culture and expectations.

For example, you might include a “Thank You” Wall where employees are recognized for their contributions or hard work. Perhaps employee anniversaries are acknowledged on an electronic Anniversary website. Or you might create a peer-to-peer site where employees are able to virtually “recognize” one another.

“Recognition that is timely, values-driven, and open to all employees builds a more connected and fully-engaged workforce” (“The Social Workplace”, Lupfer, 2011). By acknowledging employee value and accomplishments not only privately, but publicly, you create a larger circle of influence for each and every member of your organization.

When performance becomes visible in our circles of influence, we will do almost anything to succeed. – Incentive Services University.

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The Need To Be Noticed

The Need to be Noticed

Article written by Incentive Services University

Call it whatever you want: recognition, honor, pride, self-esteem . . . it’s very basic – the inner desire to have one’s achievements noticed. In some cases, a pat on the back will do the job. In others, it is tangible recognition. Whatever it is, it represents that you are important and your efforts are appreciated – you’re a winner, a performer.

~ Joe Cronin, President, Incentive Services

Every employee has an innate desire for recognition – recognition for hard work, for dedication, for accomplishments and contributions to the organization. Every employer wants their employees to be fully engaged – engaged in work, in corporate values and in organizational objectives. It is the intersection of these two desires that leads to the growth and success of both the employee and the company. In fact, it is the sincere recognition of employee accomplishments which contribute to engaged, excited employees who are ready to contribute to the organization each day.

According to a study by The Kenexa High Performance Institute (KHPI), “ . . . employees are engaged by managers who recognize employees and mobilize their teams for Peak Performance” (2009). In addition, studies by Towers Watson have shown that “ . . . employees who receive recognition in the workplace feel more valued and more committed, plus they can deliver 57 percent more effort than employees that feel underappreciated” (Cordray, 2013). Highly-satisfied, engaged employees deliver substantial, quantitative and qualitative results within the organization.

At a basic level, employee engagement starts with every employee’s need to be noticed and recognized for a job well-done. In many instances, this acknowledgment might be words of praise or thanks for extra time or dedication. Perhaps it is “ . . . the kind words of encouragement, the handshakes, the smiles and pats on the back – given sincerely and frequently” (Cordray, 2013). Do not, however, underestimate the importance of tangible recognition. When “given sincerely and with genuine thought”, tangible rewards can show employees that they are a valuable and recognized part of the organization.

No matter the reward – tangible or intangible, large or small, public or private – every company has the ability to demonstrate to its employees that they are noticed for their efforts and that they are recognized, valued, and appreciated.

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Four Tips

Four Tips For Structuring Incentive Programs

Article written by Ann McKeough

Company success rests on the performance of employees. As organizations look at ways to reward and motivate their workers, recognition methods have come a long way from a pat on the back and upgraded parking spot. Structured incentive programs—which reward employees for meeting performance-based milestones—are helping employees set, meet and exceed goals, and helping companies attract and retain valuable talent. Employee incentives also help build brand loyalty.

In fact, employees who participate in company-driven incentive programs say they feel more valued (85%), are more loyal to their companies (65%) and get better results (60%). And at companies without incentive programs, one-third of office workers say they’d put in an extra workweek each year, if their company would implement one.

Here are four tips to help companies structure effective incentive programs:

1. Align the program with company objectives: By keeping your incentive program in line with company business goals, you’ll ensure that employees are trying to achieve milestones that matter. That is, they’ll be focusing on your organization’s priorities while striving to improve the business as a whole.

2. Communicate effectively: When structuring an incentive program, it’s essential that the goals and details of the program be communicated to participants. Have a clear plan that outlines communication frequency, along with vehicles—such as conversations with managers, an internal website, a company newsletter, etc.—for communication. Increased understanding within the business can ultimately lead to better results.

3. Engage all levels of business: It’s critical to align the entire company around the goals of the incentive programs. Providing incentives for just one level of business can ultimately have a negative impact on performance goals. If salespeople are part of the incentive program, make sure the sales managers are as well so that everyone feels engaged and motivated.

4. Choose effective rewards: An incentive program is only as good as its rewards. When selecting rewards. Remember to provide products that motivate employees and drive performance. Many incentive programs are points-based, allowing workers to earn points that can be redeemed for a reward of their choosing—which in turn, can make it more meaningful.

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