Communication is easily disrupted within a traditional corporate hierarchy. It's like a misguided game of telephone. By the time communication about performance makes it to the other end, if it even does, it's been filtered and possibly altered to the point where key information isn't delivered.
You see, not everyone recognizes achievements the same way within the hierarchy. CEOs define success in terms of revenue and money. Knowing that, VPs focus on numbers and justifying decisions. Managers worry about costs while trying to make sure the team is strong enough to accomplish goals. Supervisors want to make sure the team performs well, and so on.
The typical top-down recognition needs to change, and in its place should be a more timely, peer-to-peer recognition program.
Here are a few ways your organization can shift from a top-down recognition program to a more personal and effective one.
1. Make it a peer-managed program.
When placed in the hands of employees, recognition becomes a lot more timely, relevant, and less goes unnoticed.
This is particularly true as we enter an age with millennial workforce. Millennials are used to getting the information they need fast. They don't want to wait around for the traditional annual performance review, according to The Pew Research Center. They value frequent, relevant feedback.
Implement a peer-managed recognition program in your workplace. Make it a rewards-based system so employees will feel encouraged to give feedback frequently.
2. Encourage employees to notice the small wins.
Too often, small accomplishments are missed when looking at the big picture. Sometimes victories are defined by small wins and excellence lies in the details of what happens to accomplish a goal. Those moments are only celebrated in a workplace culture where peers are empowered to recognize one another as they directly work alongside one another.
As you empower employees to recognize one another for their contribution, encourage them to notice the little things. Start by setting an example and post a public thank you for a few small favors you see employees doing. Your employees might catch on right away, or they might need you to point out the value in noticing the small wins.
3. Make it digital.
You could choose to have employees hand-write thank you notes to each other, but what is the likelihood your employees will actually take the time to do that? Handwriting notes can be time-consuming and viewed as extra work, so recognition might not be given as frequent or timely as you had hoped. Instead, take a more modern approach. Use a digital communication platform everyone has access to. Giving recognition will be as simple as sending a text message or quick email.
4. Make it as convenient as mobile.
A study by Pew found 29 percent of cell phone users feel their phone is something they cannot live without. Its convenience to send and retrieve information plays a big role in this. Survey respondents said their phones make the following tasks much easier: 65 percent keep in touch with people, 28 percent plan and schedule their daily routine, and 26 percent to be productive while waiting in traffic or in line.
Convenience is everything in a fast-paced workplace. Use a mobile-enabled platform to ensure employees will carry out your new recognition program. It will be one more mobile update they'll easily find time to squeeze into their day.
5. Make it trendy like social media.
How many times do you catch your employees updating Facebook statuses at work? The use of social media on mobile is growing. In fact, 30 percent of mobile users aged 25 and older use social media on their phones.
To further encourage peer recognition, use a platform that mimics social media. A platform like this would allow you and your employees to set up profiles and share recognition statements similar to posting a Facebook status. Additionally, some of these platforms allow you to tag core company values in the update for categorization. Then, at the end of the month, you can check to see which employees were tagged the most with specific qualities, enabling you to see strengths and areas of opportunity among your team.
Most importantly, these strategies point out highlights seen from all employees in the company and multiple perspectives rather than just one perspective from distant upper management. The top-down recognition system pales in comparison to what a more personalized recognition strategy could do for your company. To make the shift, look at how digital and social communication impact people and follow those trends to have a happier, more engaged team. What are some other strategies to help your company shift from a top-down recognition program to a more personalized one?