REGONITION CASE STUDY: Fortune 100 Company

RECOGNITION – AT ALL LEVELS

THE CHALLENGE

A very large divison in a Fortune 100 company received feedback from their annual employee survey and listened. Employees felt under appreciated, could not see a career path and thought they received little or no recognition. Scores for recognition were three (with ten being the highest). The good news is they liked their managers and felt very supportive of their colleagues. They also liked the company, but working long hours without any acknowldgement of their sacrifices or quality of their work was taking a toll. The other issue this affected was collaboration. Many employees went out of their way to help their colleagues and there was no way to publically regonize and show gratitude. The company had very little budget to put towards this. 

THE APPROACH

We knew, and the client agreed, that to correct this problem it had to be a multi-pronged approach – starting at the top. We set up a required mandatory class on how to effectively recognize employees for all senior managers including the division president. It was well received and highly effective. After the class, the president sent a thank you note to each of the attendees (a subtle but visible demonstration about how serious he took this topic). Managers told their direct reports about both the issue and the proposed solutions and said there were going to be some positive changes coming. We advised that it is always important to tell employees when you want to initiate changes or they can be left scratching their heads about why the sudden turnabout.

We also helped the company set up a peer-to-peer online recognition program. Employees could nominate anyone that they thought had gone "above and beyond", on an easy-to-use automated form on their intranet. The names of these nominated employees scrolled all day on the Intranet home page. Each time an employee was nominated, the manager also received an automatic email that gave them the opportunity to "second" the praise. At review time, all the positive comments about the employees appeared in their profile. 

THE RESULTS

Changing culture and habits is never easy but having support at the very top made all the difference. The president was copied on any written regognition from his direct reports. He reinforced the importance of this initiative at all senior leader meetings.

The peer-to-peer program was a huge success with over 300 people recognized the first month (approximately 20% of the employees) and then an average of 200 going forward. Every person recognized was publicly acknowledged on a slide at the quarterly All Hands meeting and asked to stand. Employees felt proud, managers learned how far a simple note or more could go to changing the workplace, and collaboration had never been better. The real results came from the next annual employee survey. Regognition was rated 9 (out of 10 with 10 being the highest).  The program is still in place five years later and the results remain consistent.