Informal Recognition

Throwback blog from 08/18/2013 by Atty. Hector V Hernandez:

Informal Employee Rewards: An integral part of the total rewards program for staff members

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Supervisor, not sure if she will informally recognize

Nearly every supervisor knows that employees want to be valued and appreciated especially when they do a good job e.g. completing a difficult task ahead of deadline with enthusiasm, working beyond the call of duty  cheerfully when everyone has gone home.  This we know from Behavioral Scientists’ research we have read over the years. But does the Supervisor really tell her that?  If she wants to do exactly that….recognize her staff member for a job well done, is the Supervisor ready for that simple act of saying “thank you.”

What is informal recognition?

Informal recognition can best be described as the use of positive reinforcement without material rewards.  It is manifested by way of saying thank you or a sending simple note using a Thank You card or through e-mail.  One thing about informal recognition, is that it can be provided at any time by the employee’s supervisor or manager or even a co-employee.

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Continuing communication is very important throughout the process even before the implementation date.  This will allow you to let the employees know how they will get involved.  The rationale and the “how” of the new program should be clearly enunciated in the communication strategy.

After the roll-out, continue to communicate the responsiveness of the employees by  posting in the website some data already available. This will entice those who have not used the program to try it.  This latest data can also be posted in your Communication Boards found in strategic places of the company premises or even be printed in your weekly or monthly newsletter.  A photo of the employee being recognized is a bonus in the Asian context.

Employee behaviors to recognize

Employee behavior deserving informal recognition may include among others, exemplary teamwork or collaboration recently manifested by the team members or by the whole team itself,  completion of a challenging special project way ahead of deadline; submission of a quality written report,  presentation of a new or innovative work procedure that can be implemented immediately or a special effort made under unique or difficult circumstances that otherwise would have not have produced the desired results.

Other forms of informal recognition

Informal recognition may be given in non-monetary ways to commensurate with the achievement being recognized. Examples are:  ready-made Thank You Notes or Cards, Certificates  signed by CEO in plain company letterhead or some gift items of small value e.g. books, desk items, cups, mugs, caps or movie tickets, office lunches for the team or endorsement to a professional enrichment course.

 

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Some suggestions before you implement this program

For long term effectiveness, it is good to get top management support first and consult the employees if they really want to have a program implemented in the organization.  One approach is to use the Open Space Technology process where engaged employees attend a 2-hour session. In the process, you  ask them what they value in rewards and recognition, listen to their comments and respond appropriately by providing meaningful and motivational rewards. Face to face meetings help you gain a better understanding of the employee beliefs.

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Continuing communication is very important throughout the process even before the implementation date.  This will allow you to let the employees know how they will get involved.  The rationale and the “how” of the new program should be clearly enunciated in the communication strategy.

After the roll-out, continue to communicate the responsiveness of the employees by  posting in the website some data already available. This will entice those who have not used the program to try it.  This latest data can also be posted in your Communication Boards found in strategic places of the company premises or even be printed in your weekly or monthly newsletter.  A photo of the employee being recognized is a bonus in the Asian context.

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Use it everytime!

Rewards program especially informal recognition is one of the most powerful yet underutilized tools available in our tool kit.  Use it always and you will be amazed on how you will transform your organization’s culture to one of appreciation and gratitude without the heavy investment you put in those formal recognition programs.

In the end, other potential tangible payoffs may also enhance your company’s bottom line e.g. fewer grievances, increased ability to overcome challenges, lower turnover rates, reduced absenteeism and more satisfaction with the overall climate of supervision in the organization.

HVH

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