Two Mistakes That Will Kill Your Employee Recognition Program

Posted on October 18, 2019 by Nate Regier / 0 comments
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This SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey found that less than 30% of employees surveyed were satisfied with their organization’s recognition efforts. Among organizations who had a formal recognition program, less than 50% were satisfied.

How can it be that even among organizations who are making the effort and have good intentions, less than half of their employees are satisfied?

Two mistakes can kill even the best-intentioned recognition efforts; Focus on recognition instead of motivation, and selective hearing which leads to prejudice.

The Process Communication Model (PCM®) identifies six distinct personality types within each of us, each with specific motivational needs that must be met for optimal functioning. At any given time in our life, one of these is primary, and therefore the key to our own motivation. Here’s a list of six distinct motivational needs along with their prevalence in the general U.S. population:

Recognition of work and time structure – 25% (75% are male)
Recognition of work and convictions – 10% (75% are male)
Recognition of person and sensory – 30% (75% are female)
Contact and fun – 20% (40% are male)
Incidence; lots of excitement in a short period of time – 5% (60% are male)
Solitude – 10% (40% are male)

This list reveals two problems with how most organizations approach employee recognition.

Mistake # 1: Focus on recognition instead of motivation

Only three personality types (65% of the population) desire recognition at all. The rest are motivated in different ways. Motivation, not recognition, is a better focus.

Mistake # 2: Selective hearing works against inclusion

Most employee engagement and recognition surveys engage a limited group of personality types. The result is that we obtain a skewed view of what people want and need to be motivated and feel included. Then we use this information to guide changes, and end up inadvertently neglecting certain types. For example,

Gallup Q12, the most widely used engagement survey in the world, predominantly targets recognition of work, convictions, and person, effectively tuning out 35% of the population.

I recently presented this perspective at the National SHRM Diversity and Inclusion conference to a room of over 100 diversity and inclusion professionals. While I was happy that the group overwhelmingly resonated with what I shared, I was shocked that the majority of them had never thought of personality diversity as a critical factor in the workplace.

If diversity and inclusion are important to you, consider personality as an area of greater focus.

Download our free app, PocketPCM, for Apple to learn all about the six Kahler Personality Types.


Next Element offers PCM training programs and keynotes to give your leaders the skills to motivate and engage all six personality types.

Copyright Next Element Consulting, LLC 2019

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