Why Measurement Matters in Employee Recognition

Especially in these turbulent economic times, I am asked frequently to help companies build the business case for strategic employee recognition. Foundational to such an effort is setting up measurement guidelines for the program so you can clearly understand where you are now, where you want to go, and how to measure success against those goals.

But first it’s critical to understand why measurement is important in employee recognition.

Some assume with something as nice and positive as a program encouraging “thank yous,” measurement is not important. However, as with any investment in employees that ultimately drives productivity and performance against strategic objectives, you must measure as a means to encourage the level of program adoption necessary to achieve the culture change you need.

John Pescatore of Gartner recently made this point well:
AWARENESS - 30 mile per hour speed limit signs every 1/4 mile on a stretch of road that goes past the elementary school where my wife works. Result: everyone knows the speed limit and drives 40-50 mph.

ENFORCEMENT - Traffic cameras that automatically issue $40 tickets if you exceed 39 mph were installed. Result: everyone obeys the speed limit and drives 25 - 35 mph. So, about 40 years of awareness and education training plus periodic enforcement failed to change driving behavior. Installing a technical control with continual monitoring and enforcement changed the behavior in a day.”
Are you trying to change the culture of your organization to one of appreciation and high performance? How successful have you been at changing the behaviors that lead to culture change? Strategic recognition – with its inherent mechanisms for measurement – lend to behavior and culture change by measuring and reporting on actions and results. This helps hold people accountable to the standards you need to drive program success.

Tomorrow I will discuss in more detail additional, concrete steps for measuring recognition.

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