Roy Saunderson

Top 10 Trends for Employee Recognition in 2013

By Roy Saunderson
December 10, 2012

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Recognition is a transformative force for good in helping businesses reach strategic objectives. Recognition, done right, allows people to express authentically how they feel about their peers and the contributions they make. Vendors and practitioners must now learn to reinvent themselves and the way recognition will look and is managed in order to lead out into the future. These top 10 trends are thoughtful insights for taking us into an exciting new year in 2013.

1. Expect a flood of immediate mobile recognition. 
As recognition apps increase we’ll see recognition becoming more prolific as employees gain greater access to mobile devices like smartphones and tablets and use them to acknowledge and praise peers near and far.

2. Social recognition supplants reward platforms. 
The use of social media type recognition given via à la Facebook-like platforms is expected to race ahead of using traditional recognition portal programs which have a strong rewards component embedded in them.

3. No excuses — more people will get recognition right. 
Educating on the why and how of meaningful recognition giving will come alive through mobile access for learning via online courses, written content and video modules to develop employees at all levels.

4. Recognition will become even more interactive. 
Face-to-face video capture and the spoken word will likely be explored as the next medium for sending personal messages of praise and acknowledgement besides the tried and true written and graphic formats.

5. A little more personal, please. 
Personalization of recognition will be front and center as a strategy for giving more meaningful appreciation in the workplace. Employers will capture recognition preferences with onboarding new employees and expect more manager interaction to do the same.

6. Give me the cards I want. 
Employees will no longer be satisfied with mainstay gift cards from big box stores and established suppliers. Employees will demand to receive customized cards from meaningful places they prefer and not just what the employer deems everyone should get.

7. Greater transparency with greening of recognition. 
Employees have little trust for corporations’ claims of supposed eco-friendly practices with gifts and packaging. Best to provide simple and clear proof of “green” efforts and keep educating everyone regularly on what you are doing.

8. Employers want better linkage of recognition to results. 
Technology enables improved tracking and recording, not just of recognition actions, but also results achieved. Visualize leader boards online with movement tracked of progress on strategic initiatives along with recognition given.

9. Need for better data not just big data. 
Good data is useful recognition metrics for greater employee insight and employer decision making to enhance employee loyalty and engagement. Imagine data with personalized information promoting preferred rewards that will help increase point redemption from programs.

10. Putting recognition into employees’ hands. 
It’s happening already with demand for increased peer-to-peer recognition tools. By giving more recognition power to employees you remove the barriers of management and their myths that have inhibited recognition giving for too many years.

Incentive columnist Roy Saunderson is the author of Giving the Real Recognition Way and is the Chief Learning Officer for Rideau’s Recognition Management Institute, www.rideau.com, which consults with and educates companies on how to get recognition right. He can be reached at RoySaunderson@Rideau.com. Tune in every Tuesday to hear him on Real Recognition Radio.
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