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It’s no surprise that business success relies heavily on an engaged and motivated workforce. The problem is that, while social recognition is increasingly regarded as an effective way of achieving this, there is a wealth of misinformation about how businesses should implement recognition practices. These myths not only have the ability to thwart a company’s effort to build a unified corporate culture, but it can end up impacting a company’s productivity level, and subsequently, bottom line. Here are some of the most common HR myths, and how these can be overcome:

Only managers should provide feedback

It goes without saying that managers’ feedback is important to every employee. However, while regular feedback from a senior can certainly help increase employee engagement, it’s important to understand that managers, no matter how good they are, cannot see everything that is happening at all times. As such, organisations need to consider crowdsourced recognition.

Social recognition that includes crowdsourcing involves the opinions of many to gain a far deeper understanding of an employee than any individual could arrive at alone. Indeed, anyone that sees or is affected by a colleague’s good behaviour or performance is given the opportunity to express their appreciation. By giving the possibility for every employee to be recognised regularly, employees will feel increasingly motivated and engaged with their colleagues and the company as a whole.

 Engaged employees equal long-term employees

The latest Employee Outlook Survey from the Chartered Institute of Professional Development (CIPD) revealed that engagement is a key factor affecting productivity within the workplace. According to the research, 36 percent of UK employees feel engaged at work, and a significant amount of those that feel disengaged say they are less productive than those that feel neutral or engaged with their employer.[1] Unfortunately some organisations assume that as long as an employee is engaged, he or she will stay at a company for the long-haul. This, however, is not always the case. While there’s no disputing the importance of an engaged workforce, problems can arise when companies overestimate how long a feeling of engagement can last. Indeed, if an employee feels valued and engaged in September, it doesn’t mean they will feel the same in December. Like any relationship, feeling engaged requires regular effort.

To avoid short-term engagement levels, organisations need to implement a strategy that puts into practice a strong organisational culture over a long period of time. By creating an environment that recognises employees regularly and unifies them with common goals, language and set of values, businesses will ensure they feel secure, supported and engaged at all times.

Gamification and employee recognition mix

A hot trend in programme design, gamification means adding elements of game design or mechanics to non-game contexts, and traditionally appears in our leisure time, such as video games, or how we spend our money. Over recent years, this has started to gain traction within HR, with businesses gamifying business roles using leader boards and badges to encourage achievement.

While the practice can provide some benefits in some aspects of HR, businesses need to be very careful about how they implement such schemes in relation to recognition.  Incorrectly done, gamification can actually do more harm than good and, rather than being voluntary and co-operative, becomes mandated and competitive.

Cash always boosts motivation

Cash is often used as a tool for recognition, however it has its drawbacks. While it’s highly unlikely an employee will refuse extra money, it often fails to have the desired long-term effect.  It’s not uncommon for bonuses to be swept up within the employee’s standard pay packet and spent on day-to-day outgoings – such as bills, fuel, or a grocery shop. The motivational effect of the reward is therefore lost as it has no memorable or meaningful connection. This is particularly true when the reward is given as an annual bonus, as it is unlikely that the behaviour that warranted the reward will be apparent, and, subsequently, won’t be consciously repeated.   REWA

Recognition has an additional advantage over cash when implementing a rewards strategy. To state the obvious: there is a limit to the cash compensation that sound financial management will allow. While a recognition practice has a cost, its appeal to intrinsic motivation magnifies its impact in a qualitatively different manner than cash. As part of an optimal mix of rewards, recognition is a much more efficient motivator – and it is much cheaper than spiralling salaries.

Recognition data is unreliable

have a significant impact on improving business processes that maximise productivity in the workplace. Indeed, by capturing individual acts of recognition, hidden influencers and star performers can be identified, which can help businesses capitalise on their strengths and improve on their weaknesses. In effect, it acts as a ‘brain scan’ of company culture.

Data generated from a recognition programme is sometimes dismissed by organisations as having little value, however information revealed by a social recognition programme can create a rich, real-time narrative of company life. This can have a significant impact on improving business processes that maximise productivity in the workplace. Indeed, by capturing individual acts of recognition, hidden influencers and star performers can be identified, which can help businesses capitalise on their strengths and improve on their weaknesses. In effect, it acts as a ‘brain scan’ of company culture.

[1] http://www.cipd.co.uk/pressoffice/press-releases/employee-outlook-291015.aspx