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Why Your Employee Recognition Program Isn’t Working

It is no secret that happier, more engaged employees are more productive, and many studies show this benefit is substantial. How to motivate employees, however, is not as well understood. There is no shortage of employee engagement and recognition platforms, and while they share the same goals they approach it in a myriad of ways.

The traditional method for recognizing employees has been through rewards, usually monetary or the equivalent, such as gift cards or trips (a.k.a. “experiences”). This is despite conclusive research showing that it is not effective, and in many cases has a negative impact over time. This can extend to non-monetary rewards, such as preferential parking for the employee of the month. This seems counterintuitive, which may be why nearly all employee recognition platforms continue to focus on rewards that have been repeatedly shown to be ineffective, at best.

So this then leaves the question, what does motivate employees? The most clear answer is esteem. People care what others think of them, and especially their peers. In one study, employees were even willing to pay a substantial percentage of their salary to get it when offered a de facto choice between additional commission or recognition.

People by nature also enjoy altruism– providing awards (as distinct from rewards) to others can be as much of a morale boost as receiving one. A gift card cannot compete with praise from a colleague advertised throughout a department or organization.

Finding no software that focuses on peer awards, rather than rewards, Accolader was created. Accolader is based on peer awards, which consist of a category and a description of the achievement. These accolades shared, tracked, and managed via a simple suite of administrative tools. Easy to understand metrics are tracked to measure engagement.

“What we want, the common denominator that I found in every single interview, is we want to be validated… Friends and family, yours, enemies, strangers in every argument in every encounter, every exchange, I will tell you, they all want to know one thing: was that okay? Did you hear me? Do you see me?”
Oprah Winfrey

You can find out more about Accolader here, or view the product guide.