How To Do Employee Recognition and Reward Performance the Right Way

Aug 16, 2023
How To Do Employee Recognition and Reward Performance the Right Way
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At the very core of a thriving and dedicated workforce lie two crucial elements: employee recognition and rewards. These elements serve as the lifeline of success within an organization. It is a universal truth that human beings thrive on acknowledgment and validation. When our efforts are acknowledged and valued, we are spurred on to achieve even more. The workplace is no exception to this fundamental aspect of human nature. When employers take the time to recognize the hard work and dedication of their employees, the impact is profound.

 As a manager or HR professional, it is crucial to understand the best practices for offering recognition and rewards to ensure their effectiveness and impact. In this article, we will delve into the strategies and tactics to handle employee performance and recognition programs effectively, fostering a positive work environment conducive to increased motivation and engagement.


Defining Employee Recognition and Rewards

Employee recognition and rewards refer to programs and initiatives implemented by organizations to acknowledge and appreciate the efforts and contributions of their employees. The essence of these programs lies in their pursuit of cultivating a work environment that radiates positivity, fostering deep employee engagement, unwavering motivation, and steadfast loyalty. Recognition can be in the form of verbal praise, performance certificates, prizes, or public acknowledgment. On the other hand, rewards may include promotions, gifts, bonuses, or extra time off. The nature of recognition and rewards offered to employees is based on various factors, including the organization's culture, core values, performance management program, and budgetary considerations.

Determining What Merits Recognition

To effectively recognize employee performance, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of the achievements and behaviors that merit recognition. Managers and HR professionals should ensure that recognition encompasses both conduct and performance measures. For example, sales team members can be rewarded for reaching projected performance levels, while customer service professionals can receive recognition for positive conduct. By addressing desired behaviors and performance measures, employees in all departments and job functions have the opportunity to receive recognition.

In a study conducted by PwC, it was revealed that employees place significant importance on recognition, valuing both acknowledgments from their peers and managers equally. Surprisingly, 50% of the employees emphasized the significance of recognition from their peers, while a slightly higher percentage of 51% stressed the importance of recognition from their managers. This underscores the vital role recognition plays in the workplace, with employees seeking appreciation and acknowledgment from all levels of authority.

Furthermore, it is important to focus on rewarding achievements that are truly valued and relevant in today's business climate. Outdated measures, such as loyalty and longevity, may no longer hold significance in a workforce where employees frequently change companies. Instead, recognition efforts should be linked to the organization's current goals, values, and objectives. This alignment sends a clear message to employees that success is measured beyond just financial gains and encompasses important aspects like workplace safety, customer service, and corporate responsibility.

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Achieving Balance: Rewards and Appreciation

The effective combination of rewards and appreciation is key to providing meaningful recognition to employees. Rewards can be both tangible and intangible, offering something of value to employees. Tangible rewards may include monetary bonuses, enhanced benefits, or company-sponsored trips, while intangible rewards could be special projects that provide visibility to executive leadership, creating a sense of accomplishment and achievement. On the other hand, appreciation involves expressing gratitude and thanking employees for their contributions. This can be done on a one-on-one basis or through public recognition in front of peers. Appreciation, being a flexible and low-cost measure, makes employees feel valued by leadership.

To make the greatest impact, HR teams should strive for a balance between rewards and appreciation. Every professional responds differently to each type of recognition, so it is important to offer a mix that caters to various preferences and motivations. By striking this balance, organizations can ensure that recognition efforts remain effective and meaningful.

Creating Meaningful Recognition Programs

While recognizing good employee behavior and results is important, it is equally crucial to design and implement recognition programs that are meaningful and fair. To create a level playing field, companies should eliminate manager selection processes that may be prone to favoritism. Instead, objective measurements, such as sales figures, units processed, or customer ratings, can be used to determine whether someone deserves recognition. Additionally, employee nominations can be solicited from all members of the organization, giving recognition more weight and encouraging increased participation.

KPMG Insights also revealed that the two most influential factors driving employee engagement are recognition and feedback from managers. This indicates that when managers invest the effort to acknowledge and value their employees, they are more likely to cultivate a workforce that is highly engaged and motivated. Recognizing the contributions of employees and providing meaningful feedback creates a positive work environment where individuals feel appreciated and encouraged to give their best, ultimately leading to increased productivity and overall job satisfaction.

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Timing is also a critical factor in the effectiveness of recognition. Employees should be recognized as close as possible to the time of their achievement or behavior. Delayed recognition may diminish its positive impact, whereas timely recognition reinforces the desired actions and behaviors. Regularly reviewing and revamping recognition programs is essential to keeping them relevant and impactful. In the realm of human resources and leadership, conducting regular surveys among employees holds immense significance. These surveys serve as a valuable tool to gain insights into the behaviors and performance measures that employees wish to see acknowledged, along with the rewards they find most meaningful.

By seeking the input of employees through well-crafted surveys, HR professionals and leaders can tap into the collective wisdom of their workforce. These surveys act as a direct channel for employees to voice their thoughts, preferences, and aspirations when it comes to recognition and rewards. By periodically changing reward offerings, organizations can provide employees with new incentives and recharged motivation to strive for greater achievements.

Maintaining Engagement and Motivation

Recognition programs, no matter how well-planned, can lose their effectiveness over time. Achievements that were significant in the past may not have the same impact in today's evolving business landscape. Therefore, it is important to review and revamp recognition programs to keep them aligned with organizational goals and employee preferences. 

Employee recognition programs offer far-reaching advantages that extend beyond boosting employee morale and enhancing company culture. They can also wield a powerful influence on revenue growth, yielding substantial benefits for an organization's financial success. According to a study conducted by Gallup, companies that implement such programs and achieve high levels of employee engagement surpass their competitors by an impressive 147% in earnings per share. This compelling statistic underscores the immense impact that recognizing and appreciating employees can have on an organization's bottom line.

Leadership should also introduce opportunities for teams and departments to collectively reach goals and earn rewards, fostering a sense of teamwork throughout the organization. This approach not only motivates individual employees but also strengthens collaboration and engagement across the board.

To further maintain the effectiveness of recognition programs, it is important to create an element of surprise. Continually changing the type of recognition employees receive and introducing unexpected rewards, such as free lunches or gift cards, keeps the entire team excited and motivated to achieve greater success. By incorporating these elements of surprise, organizations can prevent recognition from becoming an entitlement and instead make it a source of ongoing inspiration.

HR Cloud's Workmates App for Employee Recognition and Reward Performance

HR Cloud's Workmates app is a powerful and user-friendly tool designed to facilitate employee recognition and reward performance within organizations. Leveraging the capabilities of cloud technology, Workmates offers a seamless and efficient way for companies to acknowledge employee achievements, foster a positive work culture, and enhance overall employee engagement.

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Key Features of Workmates App:

  • Real-Time Recognition: The Workmates app enables instant and real-time recognition of employees' accomplishments. Team members and managers can send kudos, accolades, or virtual badges to acknowledge each other's efforts promptly. This immediate recognition enhances the impact and appreciation of employees' contributions.

  • Peer-to-Peer Recognition: Workmates emphasizes peer-to-peer recognition, empowering employees to recognize and applaud their colleagues' successes. This peer acknowledgment fosters a supportive and collaborative atmosphere, boosting team morale and camaraderie.

  • Customizable Reward Programs: The app allows organizations to customize their reward programs based on their unique company values and objectives. Whether it's rewarding specific achievements, milestones, or exceptional performance, Workmates can be tailored to meet the organization's specific needs.

  • Social Feed and Comments: Workmates includes a social feed where employees can publicly celebrate each other's accomplishments. Colleagues can leave comments and words of encouragement, creating a sense of community and appreciation within the organization.

  • Points-Based Rewards: The app can implement a points-based rewards system, allowing employees to collect points for recognition received. Employees can then redeem these points for various rewards, adding a gamified element to the recognition process and motivating continuous excellence.

  • Multichannel Accessibility: Workmates is accessible through various channels, including desktop, mobile devices, and web browsers. This multi-platform accessibility ensures that employees can engage with the app conveniently, even while on the go.

  • Analytics and Reporting: Workmates provides valuable analytics and reporting features, offering insights into employee recognition patterns, engagement levels, and the effectiveness of reward programs. HR managers can use this data to refine and optimize their recognition strategies continually.

  • Security and Data Privacy: As part of HR Cloud's commitment to data security, Workmates ensures the protection and privacy of sensitive employee data. Robust security measures safeguard all recognition and reward information.

  • Automated Reminders: The app can send automated reminders to encourage employees and managers to recognize outstanding performance and milestones regularly. This consistent acknowledgment reinforces a culture of appreciation and motivation.


Employee recognition and rewards are vital for creating a motivated and engaged workforce. By following best practices, organizations can design and implement effective recognition programs that boost employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention. Recognizing the achievements and behaviors that truly matter, striking a balance between rewards and appreciation, creating meaningful recognition programs, and maintaining engagement and motivation are all key components of successful employee recognition and reward strategies. 

By prioritizing these strategies, organizations can foster a positive work environment where employees feel valued and appreciated for their contributions, leading to long-term success and growth. In this regard, HR Cloud's Workmates app is a valuable tool for organizations aiming to create a culture of recognition and appreciation. With its real-time recognition, peer-to-peer acknowledgment, customizable rewards, and data-driven insights, Workmates empowers companies to boost employee morale, engagement, and overall performance. By leveraging cloud technology, the app offers a modern and seamless approach to employee recognition and reward performance.

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Author Bio:

This article is written by a marketing team member at HR Cloud. HR Cloud is a leading provider of proven HR solutions, including recruiting, onboarding, employee communications & engagement, and rewards & recognition. Our user-friendly software increases employee productivity, delivers time and cost savings, and minimizes compliance risk.

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