4 Best Practices for Employee Recognition Programs

Nov 08, 2021
4 Best Practices for Employee Recognition Programs

Corporations of all shapes and sizes are becoming more sensitive to the importance of recognizing employees and the value that they add to companies. Although this change in approach is a recent one, it is undeniable that it is advantageous to both the company and the people it employs. However, employee recognition is a process that should be undertaken with care to ensure that everyone feels appreciated and included in the process. In this post, we will be taking a closer look at recognition programs best practices.

Create a Well-Defined Recognition Program

For any employee recognition program to be successful, it must have clear objectives. These objectives should form the guidelines according to which the performance of employees will be assessed and recognized. When creating a new employee recognition program or revamping an existing one, ask the following questions to ensure that the plan is as complete as possible.

  • Which behavior should be rewarded? This is one of the most important aspects of any employee recognition plan and enough time should be dedicated to answering it as thoroughly as possible. A good place to start is by basing rewardable behavior on business objectives. For example, if delivering great work on time is invaluable to the functioning of your business, ensure that employees who consistently deliver good work on time are rewarded. However, avoid publicly calling out employees who do not meet objectives as this can be very detrimental to the functioning of employees as a team.

 

  • What form should rewards take? Establishing how employees will be rewarded for achieving set goals is crucial. It might be a good idea to ensure that employees are praised publicly when they achieve a clear pre-set goal. In some cases, it might be good to add a tangible reward, such as a bonus or vacation day. This can serve as a motivator for other employees to achieve their goals, which ultimately benefits the company. Tangible rewards also ensure that employees remember their achievements and rewards for longer which not only boosts employee experience but also positively impacts the reputation of the company.


  • How frequently should employees be rewarded? Person recognition programs work best when they are continuous. This means that a culture of giving praise where praise is due should be encouraged in a company and this form of praise can be given on the spot by the employee’s co-workers or immediate management. However, this should be followed up with a more formal form of praise at a suitable occasion, for example, during a team meeting.


  • Who should recognize the performance of employees? Although recognition from management is always
    appreciated, the most effective type of recognition is peer-to-peer recognition. Peer-to-peer recognition can be encouraged by actively creating an atmosphere in which employees value their achievements as a team and work together to achieve goals.

Choose a Multi-Dimensional Rewards Program

Contrary to what many people may think, employees, do not always wish to be rewarded only with money. Research has shown that a varied rewards system often works better than a monetary only one. Rewarding employees with both tangible and non-tangible rewards seem to be a better approach than using tangible rewards only. Employees often feel more motivated to achieve their goals when they feel that a company sees them as more than just staff and using praise and recognition to reward the contributions of employees is one way of building loyalty towards the company amongst employees.

Employee experience

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Collaborate with Employees when Creating a Rewards Program

One of the critical mistakes that managers make when creating rewards programs is assuming that everyone feels the same way about potential rewards. Because of this, it is important to engage with and collaborate with employees to design a rewards program that makes everyone feel included. Some employees may prefer a gift card while others would rather opt for a cash bonus or a day off. Getting ideas on potential rewards from employees is a good way to ensure that everyone feels included in the process and it goes a long way towards creating a robust rewards program.

Ensure that the Rewards Program is Effectively Implemented and Managed

A rewards program is only as good as its implementation. As is often the case, great programs are developed but then end up collecting dust instead of being used. To avoid this, the following steps should be taken:

  • United Approach: Make sure that everyone is on the same page with regards to the purpose of the rewards program and how exactly it will be implemented. This avoids situations where a lack of communication causes misunderstandings and frustrations. It is especially important that the implementation phase is managed with care because this will be the first introduction to the program for many employees.
  • Alignment: Ensure that managers agree when it comes to the purpose of the rewards program. It is important that everyone in management buys into the program so that the employees can see that the initiative is a serious one. Recognition should also be in line with the general objectives and goals of the organization. Rewards and recognition programs should always be considered as a tool to reinforce existing priorities within the organization.
  • Visibility: It is important that recognition programs are visible so that employees can see that the achievement of their peers are recognized and rewarded.
  • Delivery: Make sure that rewards are delivered using the tools and technology that employees use daily. For example, if employees use Slack as a communication method, recognition messages can also be distributed using the platform. 
  • Measure the Effectiveness of the Program: Measuring is knowing. This is especially true when it comes to evaluating how effective the rewards program is. The data gained from evaluations is invaluable for the future improvement of the program and the satisfaction of employees.

In Conclusion

Employees are one of the most valuable assets that any company has and making sure that they are as satisfied as possible is a sure-fire way to improve the general functioning and profitability of the company. No matter the size or industry that the company in question is operating in, a rewards program is a powerful motivational tool that should always be in place. It is important to know how an employee feels and one of the keys to this is via employee engagement. Employee recognition best practises are vital to see who the top performer. Have a culture of recognition is great for all types of companies. 

Author Bio: Ciaran Hourican is the Managing Director of H-Training a Learning and Development company, who offers career and corporate services such as career coaching, sales training and leadership programs. H-Training understands the importance of using employee recognition programs. Ciaran offers leadership and management programs and highly encourages using these types of programs. Not only do they benefit the employees when they receive recognition, but the business in question too.