Incentive - August 2008 - (Page 41)

PRIMER R e c o g n i ti o n a n d R e w a rd s : M o re T h a n a n Ad d - O n By Tom Miller Recognition and Reward System (RRS) is often an add-on, something companies get around to introducing after they make some progress on finding and hiring the right workforce. But it’s an essential element in keeping those employees—and keeping them engaged. Key components of an RRS are typically a strategy that aligns with organizational goals, support from senior management, appropriate training and communication, attractive awards and an administrative and reporting system. A strong RRS supports desired organizational behaviors and creates a “rallying point” for individual and corporate success. When they are designed and implemented correctly, they can be strong tools to grow employee engagement. Before we look at the role of an RRS, let’s define what employee engagement looks like. Engaged employees do two things very well—they produce a high volume of highquality work and they help create change. The quality and volume of work is a result of a focus on the present and an understanding of the actions that lead to their work success and the success of the company. The ability to create change is driven by the awareness of all the components that make up their work and their willingness to challenge the status quo when they see an opportunity to do things better. An •Define the corporate culture and ensure that it’s “truthful” •Understand the key drivers of organizational success •Understand how work gets done in the organization •Define the behaviors that relate to #2 and #3 •Recognize the behaviors R P I ’s Fi ve Step s To E n ga gem ent A founded The Miller Company in 1992, is currently president of Recognition Professionals International ( and is a cofounder of The Recognition Council (a Strategic Industry Group within the Incentive Marketing Association). Contact Tom at Tom Miller engaged employee owns his work and may regularly contribute beyond his exact job description. He generally holds a significant amount of tacit knowledge regarding how things get done in his sphere of influence and is happy to share that knowledge. Interestingly, research indicates that most people want to be this kind of worker. The challenge faced by most companies is the creation of an environment where the path to employee engagement is purposely facilitated and workers are not frustrated. This is the place where an RRS comes into play. A well-designed RRS exists to support and grow a company of engaged employees. An RRS regularly reinforces the behaviors called out in the corporate culture. It’s important that the system be built around behaviors. Why? Because everyone in the organization has a chance to participate when it’s about behaviors. Certainly, a company should recognize its high achievers based on performance and results; but there are far too many people who would have zero opportunity for recognition if a company only recognized easily observable high performance. The classic example is recognizing those in sales roles but not those in operational roles. Are the sales roles more important than the operational roles? Of course not, but it is generally easier to identify and recognize performance in sales than it is in operations. The Way to Engagement It is a great deal of work to create a true enterprise-wide RRS initiative. Though it involves just five steps, it is a complex process that will, in some ways, serve as a “cultural audit” for the organization. At the end of the day, a company will come to a core set of beliefs in what makes its enterprise important and why anyone would want to be a part of its effort in the marketplace. However, it’s vital to remember that the road to engagement travels through compensation, benefits and work environment before it gets to recognition (think about Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy). An organization cannot recognize its way out of a bad business model or underpaid employees. Recognition will not be valuable to anyone who is worried about his or her financial condition or safety. Fair compensation and benefits, clarity around job security and a safe work environment are the prerequisites of an RRS. Once the foundations of the basic employee value proposition are in place, a strong Recognition and Reward System can be a wonderful lever to develop highly engaged employees. Illustration: Katharine Sandalls | August 2008 | Incentive | 41

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Incentive - August 2008

Incentive - August 2008
Editor's Note
In the News
Cover Story: Amgen and Avnet, a Pair of Fortune 200 companies, are taking two very Different Approaches to Rolling out a Global Recognition Program
Incentive Interview: Author, Speaker, Professor, Refugee; Steve L. Robbins’ many hats have led him to ask, “What if ... The World isn’t as We Think It Is?”
Case Study: Rudi’s Organic Bakery Found that an incentive trip with a Strong Social Responsibility Component Works Wonders
Gift Card IQ
Banking on Relationships
Corporate Comics Make Serious Points
Incentive Primer: Tom Miller
Gas Incentives Rev Up
Legal Ease: Pitfalls Beyond Taxes
My Turn: Airline Frequent Flier Programs
Travel News: Where To Go and What To Do
Amalfi Coast: A Classic Italian Destination
Hong Kong: The Original Chinese Incentive
Ireland: South, East, West, and Now North
potentials Here and Now
Electronics: Top Tech Trends
Luxury Goods: Exceptional Awards
Corporate Gifting: Rules and Ideas
Excite and Incent: Spot Rewards
Advertiser Index
Off the Cuff: Hollis H. Malone

Incentive - August 2008