by Brad Sytsma

At Terryberry, we’ve seen a lot of recognition trends over the last hundred years. We’ve made it our mission to help our clients stay ahead of the curve. 360 Recognition makes peer to peer recognition, manager-driven recognition, and service anniversary recognition so easily accessible, that sometimes other areas for recognition may be overlooked. Today we’re going to focus on five areas where you may not be recognizing employees, but maybe should be:

1. Customer Feedback

This one may seem like a no-brainer. If a customer, client, patient, vendor, or anyone else outside of your organization has an amazing experience with one of your employees, you want to know about it. More importantly, you want that employee to know about it.

Studies have shown that the fastest way for an organization to grow their profit margin is not attracting new customers but retaining their current customers. Happy existing customers are more likely to generate additional business than a new client. And, 82% of customers have quit doing business with a company due to a bad customer service experience.*

Now, you might be thinking, “that’s great, but what does that have to do with recognition?”

I’m glad you asked. In a recent survey, 81% of employees said they were motivated to work harder when shown appreciation by a manager. 53% of employees surveyed said they would stay longer at their current company if they felt more appreciated.**

Leveraging Customer Feedback as a form of recognition and appreciation is an integral part in motivating and retaining your customer service employees. Publishing those success stories, singling out employees who have made a positive impact on a customer, and empowering managers to praise those behaviors needs to play a major part in your recognition program if it doesn’t already.

Keep reading, and we’ll show you how 360 Recognition can help.

*RightNow Customer Experience Report
**Glassdoor Survey

2. Innovative Ideas

Innovation has been a buzzword in the corporate world for a long time now. Many companies, Terryberry included, prize innovation as one of the core values that makes up their mission statement and organizational culture. Employees that are empowered to innovate, will help your company save money and drive profits, and employees recognized for their innovations are more likely to continue working in an environment that allows them to make suggestions and effect change*

But Innovation isn’t always an easy thing to recognize. A lot of process improvements, procedural changes, and adoptions of best practices take place outside of the limelight. Peer to peer recognition is rarely a good fit for recognizing innovation. Managers may be able to recognize an employee for adapting to new challenges or updating archaic processes, but only if they’re aware those changes are happening. And often times, managers will praise the employee for Exceeding Expectations, going Above and Beyond, demonstrating Customer Service Excellence, or any of a myriad of other attitudes, behaviors, and contributions commonly used as pieces of a company’s mission, vision, and values without recognizing the employee’s achievement for what it really was, Innovation.

And what about those ideas that an employee has, but is powerless to implement on their own? Is there an encouraged avenue for them to share those ideas, feel heard, and watch that idea grow and come to life? If a company isn’t providing their employees with opportunities to share ideas on how to better conduct business, are they really embracing a spirit of Innovation?

Recognizing Innovation as it happens, celebrating employees whose ideas and practices have driven real and positive change, and demonstrating a history of listening, learning, and growth is essential for any company that touts Innovation as one of their guiding principles.

While recognizing and praising employees for innovation can be tricky, having the right tools in place can transform innovation into a focal point for your recognition program, help to create positive change within your business, and provide your employees with a sense of investment and engagement through practices they contributed to.

Read on to see how 360 Recognition can make recognizing your employees for their bright ideas a reality.

*Entrepreneur – Empowering Employees to Drive Business

3. Education/Training/Personal Improvement

Employee education is important. Whether your employees need to stay up to speed on safety regulations, learn operating processes for new equipment, or update required certifications, it is critical to recognize their efforts and commitments in order to keep them motivated.* Especially when training is something that they have to find a way to squeeze into their already full workdays.

But incentivizing training isn’t always easy. Determining who’s responsible for recognizing employee education can make things difficult.  Without a formalized process, managers may create their own recognition structure, creating unbalanced and potentially unfair systems.

Many companies have begun utilizing eLearning systems to help track and simplify the training process for their employees.  eLearning systems provide a new opportunity to streamline the recognition process. Utilizing the reporting and notification tools of an eLearning system to trigger recognition moments for employees, allows for a reliable, fair, and uniform process for all employees.

As many industries have required ongoing certification and training requirements, recognizing an employee every time they complete an educational course may not be worthwhile.** In these instances, consider recognizing those employees that complete their training on time or early, and those who achieve the highest scores on assessments. This additional requirement allows the recognition to serve as an incentive for exceptional behavior instead of expected compensation for doing something that’s a routine expectation.

Sound like something you’d like to see in your program? Keep reading to see how 360 Recognition can leverage your training and educational tools to motivate employees.

*Growth Engineering – Motivate Employee Training
**Forbes – Incentives that Actually Work

4. Employee Referrals

No one knows the ins and outs of your employees’ jobs and your company’s needs better than the employees themselves. If you’ve created a culture where employees feel valued and appreciated, where they enjoy coming to work, they’re going to talk about it. With their friends, their families, your employees will discuss why they enjoy going to work. Your people are your greatest recruiting tool, but many organizations don’t have an outlet to reward referral and peer recruiting.

Hiring the right people is one of the biggest challenges that all companies go through. While there are recruitment services and headhunters who will search those people out for you, those recruitment services are often costly, and may not find the employees that you’re looking for.

Employee referrals have proven time and time again to be the lowest cost, most effective way to bring talented individuals into your organization that are passionate, productive, and will stay for the long haul.  If you want “better hires, faster hires, increased retention rates, and thousands of dollars in savings per hire.”* You need an Employee Referral program that works.

The most important part of a referral program is communication. Before, during, and after the interview and hiring process.

Employees need to know that they can refer their friends and family for potential positions. Publicizing and marketing the referral program to employees is the first step to success.

During the recruitment process, communicate to your employees what positions you’re hoping to fill. Let them qualify their contacts before submitting a referral for consideration. Employees understand how frustrating it can be to have the wrong person in a critical position and will recommend their connections accordingly.

Whether or not you end up hiring an individual based off of the referral, celebrate those individuals who participated in the program. This will help bring the process full circle, making sure employees are aware of the program and feel encouraged to participate.

Want to learn more about how 360 Recognition can help formalize, communicate, and reward employees for referring potential employees for consideration? Read on to see the dynamic tool we’ve added to our platform.

*Medium – Get Mileage from your Employee Referral Program
**SHRM – Managing Successful Employee Referral Programs

5. Self-Reporting

Your organization is unique, so are the employees that work for you. There may be situations where you don’t know that an employee deserves recognition unless they tell you about it.  At Terryberry and across our customers on the 360 Recognition platform, we’ve seen this time and time again with programs and initiatives such as volunteering in the community, completing wellness activities, reporting safety hazards and concerns, positive customer interactions, and a myriad of other things that may be a part of your corporate culture.

But how do you capture, record, and reward these behaviors and contributions that employees submit themselves?

How do you incorporate Customer Feedback, Innovative Ideas, Education/Training Incentives, Employee Referrals, and anything else employees would need to self-report into your recognition program?

Answer: The Recognition Mailbox

Terryberry’s Recognition Mailbox is a highly flexible tool that allows you to capture, track, and reward all of the items highlighted above. Internal and External users have the ability to submit content directly into your existing 360 Recognition Program.

Customer Feedback – Create a link on your marketing page where visitors can access a form to recognize employees. Share the link in email signatures. As submissions come in, Mailbox admins can review the submissions and post the stories they want to share.

Innovative Ideas – Create a form that allows employees to explain their idea for improving your business. Allow them to explain what problem they feel they are solving, who will be effected, and their expected and desired outcome.  Mailbox admins can convert ideas into recognition posts, celebrating your employees creative thinking and innovations, or hold on to them to assign an award value once the idea has been implemented. Add a button to the Marquee to advertise the program and give employees easy access to the form.

Education/Training/Personal Improvement – Use the notification tools from your eLearning system to forward completion notifications directly into the Recognition Mailbox. Or create a form that allows employees to self-report their completed learning tasks and objectives. Mailbox admins can use the notifications submitted to the mailbox to recognize those employees who have embraced their learning responsibilities.

Employee Referrals – Design a form that allows employees to recommend friends and family for open positions. Include sections allowing them to describe why they feel that individual is a good candidate. Mailbox admins can reward them for their recommendations when they’re made, after a candidate is hired, or after the newly hired candidate makes it past a required threshold. Add a button to the Marquee to advertise the program and give employees easy access to the form and keep it up to date with information on open positions.

Self-Reporting – Do you have a program, or an idea for a program that we didn’t recommend? No problem! The Recognition Mailbox is an incredibly dynamic and flexible tool.  Formalize the criteria you’d like employees to report, and we’ll help create the submission process that allows you to capture it. Mailbox admins will be able to review submissions and create wall posts, assign points, or suggest awards to employees that report the activities you encourage.

Recognition is a driving factor in encouraging employee behavior.  Don’t miss out on important opportunities because you don’t know how to encourage and celebrate certain behaviors. Let us help!

Want to learn more about the Recognition Mailbox and determine if it’s a good fit for your organization? Reach out to your 360 Recognition Specialist today!