Last Fall, Ascent Group released their “Reward and Recognition Program Profiles and Best Practices 2008” report.

Covering respondents from across industries and around the world, the report comes to many of the same conclusions Globoforce has defined as best practices based on our work with some of the world’s largest and most diverse companies.

“Recognition is about acknowledgement and appreciation for a contribution, improvement, innovation, or excellence – a message to employees that they are valued. The act of recognizing an employee affirms the values and spirit underlying the achievement. It’s also about reinforcing desired behaviors and increasing their occurrence. Attitude and performance are closely linked; the appropriate recognition at the appropriate moment will create a positive attitude that, in turn, will lead to improved performance.”

A few of Ascent’s key findings from the report include those below, with my comments to each.

“Reinforce behaviors and reward results.” This agrees with prior comments that recognition is about encouraging, acknowledging and appreciating desired behaviors, then rewarding results.

“Be timely, specific and communicate!” We advocate recognizing employees in the moment – as soon after the even worthy of recognition as possible so it is clear in the mind of the employee why they are being recognized.

“Match the reward to the person and the achievement.” We’ve heard nightmare stories of recognition gone wrong. Let employees choose for themselves a personally meaningful and culturally relevant reward.

“Measure the effectiveness and impact of your reward programs.”
Ascent found nearly one-quarter of respondents do not measure program success. This aligns with our own findings that 42% are not measuring their recognition program’s results in any way, leaving CEOs in the dark on the metrics of success they care about.

What are some of your best practices for effective employee recognition?

Derek Irvine, Globoforce