Benoîte Labrosse 

We asked five Human Resource experts to present the major trends to watch in employee recognition. Four main strategies stand out.  

  1. Provide Continuous Feedback

“Words are the real recognition”, says Peter Hart, CEO of Rideau Recognition Solutions. That’s why an increasing number of companies have set up a real-time social recognition system to recognize their employees’ successes. “It is a triangle that goes from employee to employee, from employee to manager and from manager to employee”, explains Peter Hart. Ongoing monitoring also includes performance. “Many American multinational companies move away from the traditional annual review process”, says Étienne Boucher, CHRP, Partner and Compensation Practice Leader at Normandin Beaudry. “The idea is to provide real-time feedback through several data sources, since technology allows for it”, he added. “Everyone’s goals can therefore evolve as the year proceeds, and performance management becomes increasingly public and transparent”. However, care must be taken not to produce the opposite result. “Some discrete employees do not want to be recognized publicly, it makes them feel very uncomfortable”, warns Marc Chartrand, CHRP, Partner at PCI-Perrault Conseil. “As a boss, you have to be careful with such demonstrations”.  

  1. Personalize The Reward

“We live in a society where the specific needs of people are met in all sorts of ways. A good manager should be able to take into account the type of recognition preferred by each of their employees, while remaining fair”, says Chartrand. Some prefer to be recognized in public, others in private; some prefer to be rewarded with time, others with money. Beyond recognition, this individualized attention extends to the whole compensation system, which is then customized. “The compensation system is being transformed to meet the varying needs as much as possible, depending on the stage of people’s career and on the generations”, highlights Boucher. “We believe this phenomenon will continue to grow and will go even further”.  

  1. Provide Instant Gratification

The strategy of integrating fun into recognition practices is also gaining popularity. “There are growing numbers of video game enthusiasts in the labour market, and this will meet a certain need for instant gratification”, explains Étienne Boucher. “This type of tool is easier for managers to work with”, adds his co-worker Marie Anik Aussant, Partner, in charge of Communications and Performance at Normandin Beaudry. “The goal is to make it as attractive as possible, since performance and recognition are not easy to deploy and sustain over time.” “Gamification is a tool among others”, highlights Peter Hart. “Care must be taken to select the right recognition program to solve the right problem within the organisation”.  

  1. Educate Managers 

Recognition training for managers is more useful than ever. “The new tools and new ways of doing things should be supported by a great deal of communication and good training, because even the best program will not be successful if it is not deployed properly”, says Marie Anik Aussant. According to Jacques Gascon, CHRP, Senior Advisor at PCI-Perrault Conseil, “companies do not invest enough” time or money in recognition training. “Managers are often promoted because of their technical skills, not because of their interpersonal skills”, he recalls. Peter Hart uses an image: “It is a bit like a car: you have to take lessons to learn how to drive. At the moment, we are giving managers the keys to recognition systems without teaching them how to use them. Yet it is necessary to understand the theory behind it in order to be able to give real recognition”.   Five most common employment benefits Health and dental insurance policies – premiums paid by the employer Group term life insurance policies – premiums paid by the employer Training costs – for employment-related programs  Automobile and motor vehicle allowances Gifts and rewards – non-monetary and cash equivalent benefit Source: Canadian Payroll Association