Top ways to measure the usage and impact of employee recognition


Recognition may be the fastest, cheapest and smartest path to elevate performance management. Formal studies, employee surveys and HR evaluations consistently show that employees respond well when they are appreciated. When managers take the time to say “thanks” for a job well done– the impact is powerful and even measurable. Over time, the concept of recognition has shifted from being a tool for motivation to one that can influence everything from employee engagement to customer service. Leaders in financial services, manufacturing, call centers, transportation, healthcare, technology and education continue to invest in recognition because of the value from high morale across the workforce to industry-specific results that can be determined in a number of ways.

Measurement is getting better in the world of recognition.

Historically, effective measurement of “employee recognition” hasn’t easily fit a quantitative mold in the sameway that sales or marketing has — but that’s changing. Because as the practice of recognition matures, so does the understanding of what it can accomplish, and that actually can be measured. For example, after recognition programs are implemented and managers are trained in expressing gratitude – does tardiness and absenteeism go down while productivity levels go up?Are delivery schedules running on time or coming in early? Does turnover drop because retention levels rise?Are customer service complaints down and call center upsells high? These are just a few of the ways companies can “measure” the impact of recognition – and there are even more.

What to measure – more than the obvious.

Most organizations view measurement in terms of how well the program is used and delivered equal to the outcomes it influences. While subjective, monitoring “mood” can actually be objective if you know what to look for.Are peers recognizing one another and how often? Can managers be heard communicating achievements during the day or even walk-arounds to see how teams are doing? All of these are great indicators to assess mood but when observations aren’t enough – go direct and ask by survey.

Surveys are popular because they are usually anonymous which gives managers and supervisors the chance to communicate honestly – and they do.This feedback is important for recognition programs because of the human element that is so important for successful employee recognition. Finding out what’s working and how it is helping will give you context for further expansions and shifts in the budget allocation and direction. Collecting stories directly from the people involved will be a very helpful way to illustrate data or general success.

Technology continues to improve what measurement can understand.

Companies with recognition programs that utilize technology– like an e-card element – have an easier time at measuring usage and delivery.Employee contests can be another avenue to gain insight into how effective the program is doing overall. Leading organizations look to social recognition through gamification and social recognition through e-cards as a way to encourage recognition itself and to understand when, why and how recognition is being employed.

If your employees are happy, customer service compliments are rising, absenteeism is down and sales are up then your recognition culture is working — but don’t wait for once a year to advance your measurement. Find ways to understand how well your program is doing on a regular basis. Talk to key influencers and get a snapshot of opportunities and challenges. Collect stories from the frontlines. Enable technology to understand awareness and usage. By drawing on a comprehensive latticework of measurement tools, you ensure that recognition is understood as the critical business process it deserves to be and the impact is plentiful.

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