It’s Friday the 13th: Are You Playing it Too Safe with Your Recognition Program?

Friday the thirteenth

Today is Friday the 13th, a day that always strikes fear with a percentage of the population.  It represents the combination of two “unlucky” days – the 13th and Friday.  Horror movies have preyed on this for years, starting with the “too many to count” Friday the 13th movies, then lining up movie premieres on the day.

This “fear” has actually had a statistical impact in the Netherlands. According to the Dutch Centre for Insurance Statistics, “fewer accidents and reports of fire and theft occur when the 13th of the month falls on a Friday than on other Fridays, because people are preventatively more careful or just stay home.”

Wow.  While this data is interesting, is it simply the result of perceived fear getting in the way of our actions?

This reminds me of today’s employee recognition programs.  For years, recognition was done a certain way.  Tactical in nature, it lived as more of a “check-box” program rather than something that could truly impact key HR and business metrics.  There’s a better way.  When you tie recognition to corporate values and objectives, you can reinforce the very behaviors and performance that can drive the business forward.  As a result, employees know they are valued, feel more engaged, and productivity rises.  When you add in the social element, you gain an entire ecosystem of appreciation that can truly transform a company’s culture.

For many folks, this type of program may seem like too big of a step from their current program.  It may feel risky, like driving on Friday the 13th.  However, reality is quite the opposite.  With today’s global, multi-generational workforce, it’s more risky to continue to provide tactical programs.  In fact, our Globoforce Mood Tracker survey (Fall 2011) found that nearly half of all employees would leave their current job for a company that clearly recognized employees for their efforts and contribution.

So when you look at your recognition program, think about Friday the 13th.  Are you going to stay home and seemingly “play it safe?”  Or are you going to take a ride on the new recognition revolution and make quantifiable impacts on your workforce and your company?  For today’s progressive companies, the choice is obvious.

Kevin Mullins (10 Posts)

Kevin Mullins is Director of Global Corporate Communications at Globoforce.