The Recognition Council, a strategic industry group within the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA), issued some very interesting research in the last couple of months.

“Pump Up Employee Engagement: Fuel Prosperity with Strategic Recognition” presents a nice summary of the research supporting much of what I’ve been preaching in this blog for the last several months – the need to realign talent with your changed business strategies through strategic recognition and to make that recognition personal and meaningful for each individual. Excerpts from the report are below:

Alignment of Personal and Company Goals through Recognition

“People tend to do things if they feel that it is in their own best interest. Organisations need to connect what employees want for themselves to overall organisational goals by rewarding behaviour in a way that is meaningful to them and their own self-interest. By pointing out that a particular behaviour is rewarded, you could be well on your way toward reinforcing the performance that will help achieve business goals. Moreover, people don’t walk away from companies they feel care about them, so rewarding them can stabilise your talent pool.”

Citing an October 2009 Watson Wyatt study: “44 percent of the companies surveyed encouraged an increase in the use of recognition plans during the recession and 64 percent of those same companies expect to keep their recognition programmes permanently because ‘increased use of recognition programmes is one way to help keep key talent engaged and motivated. Having the right people in place and productive will be a key differentiator for companies looking to outperform competitors in a recovery.’”

Make Recognition Personal

“Workers respond to feedback and rewards and recognition, especially when it pervades a company culture that is embraced from top management down to the front line. The trick is to get it right for the specific audience and make it genuine and meaningful for each individual employee.”

“If employers are able to successfully tap into the right employee motivators, they have a real chance of achieving success. Studies show that employees who receive the recognition they want are more engaged, more willing to put in the discretionary effort that will be necessary in a challenging recovery.”

There is no denying the power of recognition to lift employee morale, unite your team, foster loyalty to your organisation and, critically, align their efforts with your changed business objectives. I encourage you to read the full report. What are you doing as the economy improves to ensure you are retaining your greatest competitive advantage – your people?

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