Humanizing the technology behind employee recognition programs

Paul Nolan

There is no arguing that technology enhances today’s recognition and reward programs. Yet it’s important not to let technology take the human touch out of workplace recognition. Software and hardware diminishes our ability to properly express appreciation unless we humanize the technology in the first place. The team at YouEarnedIt, providers of employee engagement software, offers these tips for humanizing the tech tools that power today’s recognition programs:

Face-to-Face: Ironically, a majority of recognition platforms use only text-based messaging in the form of streaming newsfeeds on social recognition programs, sending personalized online eCards, or sending printed certificates to people. With the advent of short-form video sharing or streaming video apps like Periscope or Facebook Live, technology will emerge to provide personal connection to scale, with a visual and auditory acknowledgement beyond the written word.

Public vs. Private: Many current online recognition and reward programs allow givers and receivers of recognition messages, eCards, awards and rewards, to identify how widespread the recognition is shared. Givers and receivers can choose whether they want the recognition to be visible company-wide, across a department or team, if the recipient wants it just between the giver and themselves, or not shared at all.

Relationship Strength: Most companies identify the need for peer-to-peer recognition programs where there is greatest positive relationship strength. However, a method is needed to integrate employee engagement results to flag managers and supervisors who may not be regarded well by employees. Then they can improve their positive communication skills first, before any recognition will be perceived as valuable, sincere and authentic.

Timeliness: So far, timeliness of recognition is still dependent on human observation skills and reports of achievements, contributions or effort made, before any recognition is given. As HR information systems and systems monitoring key performance indicators are aligned, imagine technology informing a manager of significant goals reached or productivity measures achieved by an employee. Without seeing it personally, those metrics could trigger the need to give well-deserved recognition in a timely way.

Clear Wording: Technology can be designed to give a recognition authenticity measure, a guide if you will, as to whether your recognition message is specific enough, and telling the sender how “human” and real the recognition sounds. This can be like Grammarly and other apps that check your content for proper grammar, punctuation and style, and even enhance your vocabulary. We all need a helping hand with how to say things the right way.