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by Alex Palmer | November 30, 2012
A new white paper makes the case for taking a more comprehensive approach to incentive programs. In its report, “The Total Recognition Solution – Why It’s the Only Starting Point Worth Considering,” Madison Performance Group reviews several types of employee recognition programs, coming to the conclusion that to be effective, they must be part of a broad, company-wide incentive plan.

“A comprehensive recognition program offers the most immediate return on investment and the greatest likelihood of long-term success,” said Mike Ryan, senior vice president of marketing and strategy for Madison Performance Group and the author of the paper. “A broad program structure addresses the entire workforce, no matter what role they play in the organization, and allows the sponsoring company to effectively and efficiently reinforce desired behaviors and outcomes across the employee base.”

The paper introduces the concept of “recognition portals” that create a company-wide framework for their incentive programs. Ryan states that a properly designed portal should follow an organization’s hierarchy, so all functions of the program (eligibility, approvals, goal setting, and so on) are approved by appropriate superiors.

“The built-in hierarchy [helps] incentive sponsors to distribute communications with pin-point impact,” Ryan writes.

The paper then looks at several major categories of incentive programs, offering specific tips on how each can fit into a company-wide plan. For example, Ryan advises that length-of-service awards emphasize day-to-day efforts as well, putting the focus on achievements beyond the number of years an individual has spent at a company.

For peer-to-peer awards, Ryan urges making them as simple and accessible as possible to encourage their widespread and frequent use. He concludes that each of these programs work best when part of a larger recognition architecture.

“Each [recognition type] has their advantages depending on the audience targeted which is precisely why they should all be part of a comprehensive package that has the potential to celebrate any and every employee’s contribution at any moment,” Ryan writes.

Ryan will also be presenting a webinar on this topic through HR.com on Dec. 12 at 3pm ET. The full "Total Recognition Solution" white paper can be viewed on Madison's website.