Recognise This! – Stereotypes or fear of failure should never impede your goals for strategic employee recognition.

I’m honoured to share with you today a couple of recent article on recognition and reward programmes in which I’m cited.

Incentive Magazine, “An Online World for Retailers and Catalog Merchants”

This article describes the transformation from print catalogs in employee rewards and recognition to a more social, online sphere. I discuss the power of taking recognition and rewards mobile, specifically.

“Social interaction and mobile recognition are must-haves. They bring an instantaneousness to programmes in all respects,” says Derek Irvine, vice president of client strategy and consulting for recognition company Globoforce.
As for the mobile platform, “it’s fully functional for the entire recognition programme and not just a clever app,” he says. A manager can be anywhere and use her smartphone or tablet to interact with participants, add comments, and congratulate employees. Recipients immediately receive their egift cards or points via email and can instantly redeem them online or in stores. Also, if they’re shopping at a retailer, they can use their egifts or access the recognition programme through their mobile devices and see if they have enough points to immediately redeem for an ecard and use it to buy the merchandise they want.
“Virtual makes it easy, and it’s led to increased participation in programmes,” says Irvine. “But the delivery mechanism doesn’t make a gift card more popular. It has to be a great brand to begin with.”

Human Resource Executive, “Asian Appreciation” (appearing in print soon)

I’ve written before about the hazards of ceding to stereotypes about the employee recognition in other cultures. None is often so incorrect as the “people in China (or German or France) don’t want to be recognised.” I addressed the Chinese recognition stereotype directly in this article, especially the need to understand local needs and deliver local rewards.

“Think global, act Chinese.”

Derek Irvine, vice president of client strategy and consulting at Globoforce, a global recognition provider based in Dublin, Ireland, believes this is the key strategy for setting up successful reward and recognition programmes in China.

Like employers elsewhere in the world, U.S.-based companies operating in China try to be globally competitive, earn high profits and minimise employee turnover. Given the low levels of employee engagement in China, there’s much to be gained by implementing recognition and rewards programmes. But the process demands local execution — everything from local vendors and local coordinators to local insight. …

Despite political or cultural differences between the East and West, Chinese workers are more like Americans than not, experts say. They want fair compensation and benefits, a safe working environment and opportunities for advancement. However, there are still some noticeable differences that have captured the attention of U.S.-based companies.

Irvine says many of his China-based client’s employees now crave sweet rewards — high-quality confections or baked goods from upscale bakeries in China. He says this reward is more likely to motivate nonskilled workers — those who enjoy rewards they can share with family or friends — than perhaps training and development.

Due to China’s exploding middle class, other popular rewards include gift cards from local electronic or quality department stores. “The burgeoning middle class is very ready to show success,” says Irvine. “[Designer] labels are very important in their display of success.”

All of these aspects – mobile recognition, social recognition, and local recognition globally – are inherent in understanding and respecting the unique and important preferences of your employees. Have you not pursued one of these approaches to recognition because of perceived stereotypes or fear of failure?