As the business environment becomes more competitive and volatile with the ongoing changes happening around, organizations have increased their focus on how to keep their hybrid workforce productive and engaged. Realizing the effect of recent changes, leaders have begun expanding their territories to create innovative talent strategies for retaining and engaging their workforce. One of such talent strategies revolves around creating authentic and impactful recognition at the workplace.
Why have Recognition Programs become such a powerful tool?
Recognition has always been considered as one of the most powerful tools that business leaders have retorted for encouraging the behaviors and values that organizations want to see in their employees. Though it is a familiar concept and is being used by most organizations as a tool for employee motivation, yet understanding what motivates an employee has always been a key challenge for leaders at all times. Moreover, in recent times the demand for an effective recognition system has further moved beyond just a tick box exercise. HR Leaders are now looking at it through a much powerful lens - something that can easily be integrated in the flow of work while creating a performance driven culture. Also, in the current state of remote working, making employees feel connected and engaged has become all the more important and relevant. Employees are constantly seeking the need to feel connected, the need to feel valued and the need for higher validation.
What challenges come in the way of delivering an impactful R&R program?
While organizations continue to invest in R&R programs, challenges exist both across design and execution and some of them are:
- Objectives of R&R programs are not well defined.
- Many times, in spite of objectives being well defined they are not commonly understood by many stakeholders.
- The metrics for measuring the impact of programs are not clear.
- There may be a lack of unified approach as different programs are often misaligned resulting in conflicting behaviors.
How can AIRe Framework help solve the challenge?
In his keynote at People Matters TechHR 2021, Partha Neog, the CEO & Co-Founder at Vantage Circle shared an interesting and effective AIRe Framework when it comes to delivering an impactful recognition strategy. He feels that employee recognition programs need to acknowledge the worth of every individual along with aligning its merit with organizational goals. He further stresses that for positively impacting business outcomes and engagement levels; recognition framework has to be authentic and at the same time impactful. While many organizations are struggling to make sufficient progress in this direction, there are organizations that have institutionalized robust practices and effective processes when it comes to R&R. In order to move in this direction, the AIRe Framework can be very helpful as a step-by-step guide for designing and scaling emotional connect with employees.
The AIRe Framework is based upon:
1. Appreciation (A) – Acknowledge a person’s inherent worth/value
Within appreciation one must consider the two factors – coverage (the extent of employee population that is covered by the program) and frequency (as per employee level and requirement of the organization)
2. Incentivization (I) – Offer value to incite action or behavior with a line of sight to achievement
This has two factors - value (importance of recognition for the employee segment) and clarity (line of sight that employees have towards what they need to do)
3. Reinforcement (R) – Guide employees towards desired behaviors that drive organizational impact
The two factors under reinforcement are specificity (the extent to which the program guides employees towards various behaviors) and alignment (relationship between the behaviors that the program drives and what the organization wants to promote)
These are the key tenets of recognition. Along with it, a core element is integrated, known as ‘eMotional Connect’. This acts as a catalyst to attach strong feelings for enhancing the impact of the program and has a multiplier effect on the perceived value of recognition. eMotional Connect encompasses two factors – Personalization (the extent of which the program can be customized) and Delivery (the way recognition is given to the recipients).
By using this impactful AIRe framework, organizations can rationalize and reinforce the need to recognize and reward their employees in the right way. It will also help organizations to choose not to overshadow the emotional aspect for both measuring performance and recognition. Thus the framework can enable organizations to review their employee recognition programs and design them through the lens of Appreciation, Incentivization, and Reinforcement with a solid Emotional Connect.