One of the most important pieces of any rewards and recognition program is identifying specific objectives. Beyond making people feel good about what they´re doing-and that´s critical, by the way-you want your program to reflect your company goals and objectives. Sometimes someone else´s words can do a better job or, at the very least, provide some assistance.
I have a good friend, someone I greatly admire, who works for a bank. She´s in the human resources department and puts tremendous thought and effort into her job. Recently, she oversaw a major recognition program that I know took a lot of time (understatement) and thought. The other day, for example, she called to ask about a book that she was considering as a gift to those being honored. We talked for a while about The Tipping Point (a great book I´ll tell you about in another posting"?¦) by Malcolm Gladwell. We compared that title to his second book, BLINK, and really went over in a lot of detail why the first book would probably be a better choice.
If you´ve been following this blog, then you know how I feel about recommending certain titles to your employees and colleagues and the fact that my friend always selects a book to give away, well, naturally, I admire her even more . . . Still, she can teach us all something about what it means to really be committed to creating and sustaining a solid rewards and recognition program.
I know there are companies out there that specifically help organizations create these programs and hence offer products and services designed to support the programs. But you need to be careful. You know your people better than someone outside and if you think that something isn´t going to click for your people, then listen to your instincts. You´re probably right. Something else to consider: timing. Once someone is tapped to receive some kind of reward and/or recognition that individual needs to be attended to. In other words, the longer you wait before you actually provide the recognition the more diluted it becomes. There´s nothing wrong with immediate gratification when it comes to employee rewards and recognition. After a while people forget about the award; they´re on to other things and the company has lost an opportunity to reinforce a job well done.
Don´t squander your opportunity to reward excellent performance by waiting for the perfect moment. The right moment is when the recognition has been made in the first place. This is especially true for employees who are in the field whether it´s in a suburban location or on the other side of the world. It´s tempting to use distance as an excuse for allowing recognition to "wait." But it´s not the right thing to do.