Why you need to fix the ‘recognition gap’ in your organisation

Barely half of UK employees (55%) feel that their organisation does enough to recognise their contribution at work.

This was one of the findings of our annual European Edenred Ipsos Barometer, a survey of attitudes of employees towards work and their employers, which we published in May.

Reading this alongside other figures in the research which suggest that the upturn in the economy is likely to spur employees to move jobs in 2014, bridging the recognition gap has to be a priority for organisations who want to motivate and retain and develop employees in the year ahead.

On the face of it, this shouldn’t be difficult.  Employee recognition is simply a matter of acknowledging where someone has done something, however small, which makes a difference to the organisation.

So where are employers going wrong?

From my experience in putting together recognition programmes for organisations I think there are four major problems:

1)  Confusing reward with recognition – The first misconception many organisations have is that reward equates to recognition. It doesn’t. Reward is a tool for amplifying an act of thanks for an employee but without the messages of “thanks”, “well done” and “good work” it becomes a little more than a transaction lacking the human element which matters most.

2)  Creating a recognition budget – On face value, creating a recognition budget where organisations can reward the contribution employees make to the organisation seems like a good idea. But having a process like this can actually drive the wrong outcomes: limiting the amount of recognition to the amount of budget available and confining recognition to being just another corporate process.

3)  Lack of non-financial recognition – Non-financial forms of recognition – certificates, social recognition schemes and thank you cards or letters – are a powerful way of recognising employee contribution. Developing this kind of non-financial recognition is critical for organisations who want to deal with the ‘recognition gap’ and reinforce that recognition isn’t just about reward.

4)   Top-down recognition – one of the major flaws of a more traditional recognition programme is its reliance on managers to identify and nominate and deliver recognition. Some of the most powerful recognition schemes I have seen put peer-to-peer nomination at their heart. Doing this engages employees in recognition schemes and the democratic approach helps ensure that real rather than contribution is recognised.

At the heart of all this is one critical point for every organisation - employee recognition is too important to be a de-centralised, ad hoc activity, which is left to chance; recognition is a strategic HR initiative driving engagement and embedding cultural values.  . As a critical driver of employee engagement and business performance, organisations who want to thrive in the year ahead would do well to address the ‘recognition gap’.

Author: Colin Hodgson | Category: Blog | 10/06/2014 | 0

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