It’s no secret that most organizations today use some form of incentivization to nurture employee engagement and foster organizational commitment. Whether it’s a recognition software, monetized rewards, or custom incentive programs designed by companies themselves.
Traditionally, nurturing employee engagement using tools like recognition has had the intent of encouraging certain behaviours and attitudes which organizations want their teams to embody.
With recognition, leaders signal which values, behaviours and attitudes they’d like their employees to both promote and practice.
As the popularization of trends and tools revolving around recognition has shown, organizations use recognition as part of a workplace culture strategy, because employees care about organizational culture, job satisfaction, and the relationship they have with both their teams and company.
That’s not all - other research has shown that recognition not only boosts morale but also encourages participation in key decision making. It can also make teams more enthusiastic about their work and organization.
That may be why many companies place significant emphasis on recognition, even above and beyond rewards.
When introducing new team members to your recognition strategy, you may find yourself struggling to explain the ‘why’ behind workplace recognition and the program or software you use.
So, how can you get new hires on board with recognition in your organization?
Start by making recognition part of your onboarding strategy
Ensuring new employees know of and can relate to your organizational culture is a key part of any onboarding process, and onboarding begins long before a new hire’s first day. It makes sense to introduce a new team member to your recognition program or software long before they walk in on their first day!
When we hire a new member to join our team here at Kudos, we keep in touch with them for several weeks leading up to their first day. We provide them with materials and resources so they can get to know our organizational culture before they walk through the door on day one.
It is also at this stage that we begin introducing them to how we use our recognition software here at Kudos.
By making new employees aware of your recognition program before and during their onboarding, you're allowing them to explore recognition and become comfortable with participating in a recognition program at work.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
Before any employee can hop on board with your recognition program and begin participating themselves, they need to be aware of the 'why' behind your organization's use of recognition. This is where communication comes in!
New hires should be made aware of what the program is, the goals of the program, and why it is being used to recognize peers and leaders within your company.
First, provide new team members with an overview of the program or software to supply context as to what the program does and which features they’ll be able to use.
Then, explain the 'why' behind your company's use of the program. For instance, perhaps engagement in your organization is low, and thus, your teams use recognition as a tool to boost morale!
It's also essential to make new employees aware of the goals of employing recognition in your workplace. If your teams use recognition with specific goals, such as motivating employees, encouraging cross-department collaboration, and improving organizational morale, your teams should communicate those goals to new employees.
Without communicating the ‘why’ behind your recognition program, new hires may fail to understand its purpose and what you hope to achieve by implementing a more proactive recognition strategy.
Pair new employees with recognition ambassadors
Team members within your organization who already use your recognition program are the best ambassadors for it because they live and breathe the recognition every single day.
Consider pairing new employees with existing ones who know the program and can explain the various features of it in a way that is simple and user-friendly.
Here at Kudos, we pair new team members with a work buddy as part of our onboarding process; this work buddy introduces new team members to the Kudos platform. In doing so, new employees gain familiarity with the program and witness it in action, sending Kudos the very same day they start their new role!
Having recognition ambassadors or champions on your team generates excitement around recognition and encourages both new and existing employees to get on board with your recognition initiatives.
Allow new employees to experiment with, and give feedback on, your recognition strategies
When it comes to the efficacy of your recognition program or strategy, the best way to understand whether your teams appreciate and use the system is to measure the results.
However, those results should always be accompanied by feedback.
With Kudos, you can measure the engagement and health of your working teams using our KQs and deep analytics, in addition to asking your teams for feedback. The feedback from your teams should always be taken into consideration; otherwise, a recognition program can swiftly become underutilized and underappreciated.
New employees present a unique opportunity to review your recognition initiatives, as they can be more objective about your program. Ask new hires for their feedback once they've had some time to try out the program and participate.
For example, after giving new employees 2-3 days to try out the recognition program you use, consider asking them a few key questions, such as:
- ‘Do you find it easy to recognize fellow employees using the program?’
- ‘Does the program or software make it easy to send, check, and keep up-to-date with recognition across departments?’
- ‘Is the program simple to navigate?’
- ‘Which features of the program do you like the most?’
- ‘Which features were you expecting to use but don’t have access to?’
When it comes to introducing recognition to your teams, keep in mind that how you communicate the goals of your recognition program can impact whether new and existing employees participate.
That communication should always include listening to feedback from teams actively using the recognition program, which leadership can obtain by frequently checking in with their employees. By doing so, organizations can continuously streamline their recognition programs and ensure they are not only practical but user-friendly for the benefit of their employees.