How a Rewards Company Does Employee Recognition

[By David Leeds]

It would be a shame if a company that delivers results with Rewards as a Service couldn’t do employee recognition right internally. Our office is a proving ground for our recognition and rewards philosophy, that’s why we know it works. It goes as follows:

Follow Your Intuition

The way we choose to do employee recognition is based on our belief of what makes recognition meaningful. Here are three characteristics of effective recognition:

1.   Be extremely open.  The employee recognition is 100% in the public domain.  It is not done secretly or behind closed doors. And there is no encouragement to keep the recognition secret or private.

2.   Recognize instantly.  When we see results or behaviors we would like to recognize, we do it immediately.  We do not wait one day or one week.  And we certainly do not wait until the end of the year for an annual performance assessment.

3.   Amplify recognition through social channels.  Immediately after sharing spot recognition on a personal and 1-1 basis, we share this recognition with other team members and then broadly across the whole company.

Reward Behavior, Reward Immediately and Publicly

 It can be difficult and time consuming to monitor positive behavior. It’s much easier to measure sales revenue and the number of new accounts. However, there’s no denying the vital contributions of qualitative details like going the extra mile for a customer. Building long-term relationships with customers depends on it. It’s the difference between a transaction and long-term partnership.

Early in August, a major partner of ours needed us to take care of one of their customers.  A key member of our account management team jumped on this request and did her customary incredible job and the customer was thrilled. The customer sent an email to our partner raving about us. This email was read by a range of execs at our partner.

A vendor can shout all they want about how great they are, but to have a customer tell you about a great experience with one of your vendors? That puts your vendor on the radar.

This email increased our credibility with our major partner and led to more business. As a B2B company these moments require immediate attention.

We use a couple of great SaaS recognition platforms internally.  I immediately used one of them.  I sent our account manager a badge with a small denomination gift card attached to it.  After sending the badge, I alerted several people on her team of the badge using the built in social sharing capabilities.  And finally, I shared my recognition via Chatter.

The impact of employee recognition diminishes with time. Recognition shouldn’t wait.


Are you ready to improve your program?

All of this is working at Tango Card to drive and reinforce results, reinforce behavior and culture, and engage with a diverse and modern workforce.

But, wow is this different from employee recognition at my first job and probably very different from what many or even most companies are doing today.

Preparing for a shift in your employee rewards program requires:

1.   First and foremost, a commitment to open, transparent, and regular recognition.  You can’t fake it.

2.   You have to be very clear what you want to recognize in your company.  Is it delivering results above plan, is it visible demonstrations of your cultural values, is it teamwork, or is it just spontaneous greatness? You must define the behavior or outcome to reward.

3.   You have to be steady, and more specifically you have to reward and recognize regularly (assuming – of course – the recognition is earned.)  If you start strong and recognize employees for the first 3 months and then stop, the program and the results will have no credibility.

4.   You have to accept certain risks.  Will you be recognizing everyone?  Likely not, so you will have to recognize that some people may be hurt or upset by this.

With guiding principles on recognition and rewards, no matter what size company you are, you can enhance the effectiveness of your recognition program or platform.

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