by Roy Saunderson | September 13, 2016

When recognition programs stop working properly, employees and organizations go into a state of cultural "cardiac arrest." Unchecked, your sick programs can result in disengagement and deathly poor morale levels. If intervention happens quickly you can restart and put new life into your recognition programs. Make sure you examine these Top 10 Ways to Revive Recognition Programs.

1. Check out the heart rhythm of your programs. Analyze the recognition program data to observe usage: who's using the program, who is getting recognized, and find out what people are actually being recognized for.

2. Ask employees how recognized they feel. Describe their current recognition symptoms. Employees' perceptions of your programs will give you a solid readout. Have employees share how program usage could be improved.

3. Determine root-cause analysis for unhealthy programs. Could it be: Lack of awareness? Invisible access? Poor education and recognition training? No communication supports? Not top of mind? No expectations on recognition?

4. Programs may need shock treatment. Deliver a new current of energy and enthusiasm to get back on track. This could be a new program design, new rules, purpose and rebranding. Clarify the expectations and hold people accountable.

5. Remove arterial blockages to your programs. If there are design and system issues then get IT and your strategy design people to quickly assess and make instant changes. Also check out and correct people's attitudes and intentions.

6. Educate about why you use recognition programs. Reinforce your organizations strategy, goals and culture about recognition. The more consistently and better your programs are used the more engaged and productive employees will be.

7. Recognition programs mostly stop working because of people. When programs break down no recognition gets pumped to people in the company. Work on problems but make sure to educate people on effective program usage.

8. Provide supports that will defibrillate your programs back to life. Improve and check reports regularly to determine concerns. Use eLearning to teach effective program practice. Send regular communication messages to encourage adoption.

9. Don't face recognition program failure alone. Recognition program revival is a team effort where you must partner with leaders, managers and employees. You must take charge of the choices and needs that affect effective programs.

10. When all else fails plan a program transplant. Removing a damaged and ineffective program by replacing it with a new one is no easy decision. But, if a program isn't working properly and has caused irreversible damage -- change it!


Incentive columnist Roy Saunderson is author of Giving the Real Recognition Way and is the Chief Learning Officer of Rideau's Recognition Management Institute, a consulting and training company which helps leaders and managers get recognition right. He can be reached at [email protected]. Also, check out the library of Real Recognition Radio shows.