The Forbes Article – 5 Ways Leaders Rock hits the nail on the head in general and the list of 5 recommendations for proper employee recognition are accurately written for sure. That said, I would offer up a few more ways leaders can rock employee recognition which I have derived from nearly 30 years of providing such programs.
First, I would strongly suggest that companies put a brand name on their employee recognition program. People respond much more deeply and emotionally to things (products and ideas) that have a brand name. Putting a custom name (ideally created by doing an employee survey asking for suggestions) is an easy way to insure greater success.
Second, build a robust communications strategy. Many companies and managers do a good job thinking about what the message should be and contemplating the structure of their employee recognition program but very often they forget to develop a robust communication strategy. Every possible means of communicating your program should be used and used frequently to keep the program fresh and top of mind.
Third, eliminate the element of chance. For some programs in the HR space that rely on employee recognition to improve performance, or safety or wellness or any number of other HR initiatives, managers introduce the element of chance. Programs are structured in a “do this, and get a chance to be recognized and earn points…” Programs set up this way are doomed to fail because they provide a false promise that bears itself out every time someone knows they did a great job but did not have their name pulled from the hat for the prize. If you are going to reward as part of your recognition program then reward, don’t offer up the “chance” to “win” an award.