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How 10 Companies Offer Employee Recognition

Oct 08, 2021
How 10 Companies Offer Employee Recognition
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As job openings hit record highs and businesses struggle to find workers, retaining top talent is more important than ever. However, many employers are relying on old, ineffective methods for attracting and keeping staff. It’s going to take more than free lunches and knickknacks to ensure today’s workers are loyal and productive. 

Nearly half of U.S. employees are ready to leave their current job due to a lack of recognition and engagement, according to a survey from Achievers. Meanwhile, 69% cite acknowledgment and rewards as top factors that would motivate them to stay at their current company. 

A few brands have gone above and beyond when it comes to thanking team members. These businesses set the highest standards for employee appreciation and inspire those looking to follow in their footsteps.

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1. Disney

Disney has more than 100 employee awards that include pay raises, plaques, trophies, and public recognition. However, Disney also offers something called Magic Backstage Sweepstakes for employees who work harder. 

This program allows managers to nominate workers who go the extra mile and enter them into a drawing to win a night in Cinderella’s castle, a free Disney vacation, or another prize of similar value. 

Rewarding hard-working employees with free admission and plaques isn’t expensive for Disney. However, they hold a lot of value for those who put in the time and effort to earn them. Plus, they incentivize other cast members and staff to exemplify company values and provide guests with a magical experience, which will inevitably attract more visitors to the park


2. Zappos

Many employers undervalue peer-to-peer recognition, choosing to focus on the manager-subordinate relationship instead. However, feedback exchange among co-workers is one of the best ways to boost overall recognition and create a more positive, inclusive, and empathetic company culture. 

Zappos has already figured this out and now offers a program that allows team members to give each other $50 for a job well done. 

Human resource departments can take a hint from Zappos and easily implement similar peer-to-peer recognition programs within their own companies by creating a virtual or physical space in which employees can give and receive feedback or encouragement. 


3. GE Healthcare

Poor management and subsequent organizational shifts make employees feel undervalued and insignificant. Some may even fear for their job security if the business changes hands. However, companies that truly value their teams will use this transitional time to embed recognition in company culture. 

For instance, when GE HealthCare restructured its manufacturing site, employers prioritized continuous internal communication to streamline the process. As a result, the team created ongoing employee forums where staff can provide feedback and valuable input. In recognizing their ideas, GE gave workers a sense of security and value even after such a major shift.

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4. Globalization Partners

Public recognition capitalizes on peoples’ innate tendency to improve their behavior. Because most employees want to be perceived in a positive light, they'll often work harder when they know a public "thank you" is on the line—regardless of whether a trophy or plaque accompanies it. 

Globalization Partners, a company specializing in international talent acquisition, often uses its blog to post press releases about employees’ success. For instance, one January article covering an employee promotion is available for both clients and staff to read.


5. Apple

A work-life balance is key for employees and employers. In fact, those who successfully establish a good balance are twice as happy and more likely to be loyal and productive than those who struggle to maintain balance, according to statistics compiled from ReHack

Companies that value a healthy workplace often have flexible time-off policies. For instance, Apple often surprises its employees with extra time off or paid leave during the holiday season. The tech giant also customizes this reward to recognize international employees who celebrate different holidays than those in the U.S.


6. Netflix

The U.S. is one of the only industrialized, modernized countries that does not mandate paid parental leave. Instead, many new mothers and fathers must take unpaid time off from work unless their employer offers an extended program. 

Netflix is different. The tech giant provides a full year of paid family leave to adoptive and birth parents of any gender. 

This kind of recognition has the potential to retain more employees and attract swathes of applicants. Thus, adding paid parental leave to an employee benefits package might be an effective way to grow teams fast.


7. Deloitte

A survey conducted by The Harris Poll revealed that a third of those who quit their jobs lacked career growth and development. However, most companies report offering career development tools. 

A lack of recognition might be to blame for this obvious disconnect. Maybe these companies provide the means but not the guidance and mentorship employees need to succeed. In this case, creating a more comprehensive learning program is necessary to recognize and meet staff needs. 

Among the major companies leading the way is Deloitte. The tax consulting firm provides a wide array of growth opportunities in the form of full leadership programs. Career sponsorship and mentoring are also available as Deloitte recognizes them as critical keys to success.


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8. E.On

Sometimes, a simple thank you is all the recognition employees need to boost productivity and maintain motivation. For instance, German utility company E.On implements a recognition program that encourages managers and employees to send thank you cards to one another. The notes can be physical or digital as long as they’re personal and genuine. 

In the months after initiating this program, E.On’s staff motivation score increased 8%, and the number of employees who felt valued shot up 13%, according to Employee Benefits

Other companies would do well to follow suit: According to Blackhawk Network, 33% of staff prefer recognition in the form of personalized cards or emails, but only 25% actually receive them.


9. General Motors

Companies with a global workforce and a solid recognition program need a cohesive platform to engage employees effectively. This allows staff to log in with personalized credentials, view everyone's achievements, and contribute to each others’ success at the company. 

General Motors recently switched to such a platform and had a stunning 97% activation rate, according to Achievers. Now, 70% of employees are active in the program, and most receive about one recognition per month.


10. Meijer

Like General Motors, Meijer, a chain of grocery stores, recently turned to an online recognition platform to engage employees, build a strong company culture, and minimize turnover. As part of this initiative, it created the app Meijer Wire, a mobile-friendly solution that facilitates recognition, features articles about team members, and provides company news. 

An app might be too much for small businesses. However, a mobile employee recognition solution may be the best way to connect and express appreciation for large companies with dispersed locations.

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About Author:

This article is written by our marketing team at HR Cloud. HR Cloud is a leading provider of HR solutions, including recruiting, onboarding, employee engagement, and intranet software. Our aim is to help your company improve employee engagement, employee productivity, and to save you valuable time!



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