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Top 8 Mistakes of Practicing Employee Recognition

Jul 02, 2021
Top 8 Mistakes of Practicing Employee Recognition
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Employee recognition programs have the potential to improve employee performance and increase workplace engagement. It also serves as additional motivation for employees, ensuring that your workforce goes above and beyond to earn the reward. When done correctly, employee recognition is a welcome improvement to any workforce.

Employee recognition can have both positive and negative consequences. Even when employers have the best of intentions, they can end up creating an employee recognition system that does more harm than good.

After extensive review, we were able to determine the top mistakes that can ruin a recognition system. Now, let's look at the top eight mistakes businesses make when developing an employee recognition program.

1. Leaving People Out

Recognizing and rewarding top performers can help motivate and boost morale, but it can also make other employees feel undervalued. As a result, they will put in even less effort, lowering overall productivity in the office. Besides, leaving people out may alienate them from the rest of the workforce or create factions among employees, both of which are pertinent issues.

This particular mistake is common in most businesses, but there is a simple fix. Everyone's effort in the workplace must be recognized somehow, even if it means creating a multi-layered recognition program, to avoid workers feeling excluded in the workplace.

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Does your organization foster a culture of micro-rewards and gratitude? If you’re not sure or the answer is “no,” your company culture could be contributing to workplace conflict. Building a culture of “thank you” can be difficult (especially with remote teams), but it doesn’t have to be! Learn more in our eBook, "10 Free / Low Cost Employee Recognition Ideas.”
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2. Rewarding Only Performance

Integrity, punctuality, and excellent communication skills are just a few of the qualities an ideal employee should possess. Employee recognition programs that focus solely on performance without rewarding other qualities tend to stifle these qualities in employees. It would send the message that only performance is essential.

Rewarding the qualities you want to see in employees will encourage them to develop them and reinforce the importance of those qualities to the organization's goals and objectives. You'll reap huge benefits if you use the employee recognition program to promote these qualities.

3. Having Only Yearly Awards

Since one of the primary benefits of employee recognition is that it boosts morale, having only an annual recognition program limits its overall effectiveness. You want your employees to be motivated and committed to their work throughout the year.

Employee recognition programs that reward employees weekly, biweekly, or monthly are a good idea. They keep employees motivated and focused while also allowing you to assess the program's effectiveness.

4. Giving Everyone the Same Reward

Although all your employees may have the same goal at work, failing to recognize their individual differences is often detrimental to overall progress. While some people may like public recognition, the idea of getting rewarded in front of other people may be frowned upon by others and end up doing more harm than good. You should better invest in small personal gifts or even hire a professional writing service like EssayService, to write custom letters of appreciation.

If the goal of your employee recognition program is to reward people with tangible benefits, you may want to survey to learn what the person you're rewarding likes and dislikes. If you go that extra mile to know their specific interests, it will make the reward more meaningful to the recipient.

5. Abandoning the Program

When an employee recognition program comes into place, maintaining it can become a massive challenge. And without a clear plan to curate this initiative, it often fades into obscurity.

However, this blunder hurts employee morale and productivity. So, employee recognition programs must be carefully monitored and maintained.

Executives should update employee recognition programs regularly to avoid the program becoming obsolete. The key to keeping a recognition program going is to adapt it to the needs of both new and old employees

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6. Making It About the Money

When it comes to rewarding employees, relying solely on money is a bad idea. If the only reason they're working is for the money, you'll lose your best employees to competitors if they get offered more money elsewhere.

Other rewards, such as exclusive movie tickets, family vacations, food vouchers, and so on, will go a long way toward making your employees feel sufficiently rewarded. Again, the reward has to be something the employee wants. For instance, offering a couple's retreat to a divorcee might come off as shortsighted.

7. Lack of Transparency

For an employee recognition program to be successful, the pathway must be fair and transparent to all employees. If there's even the slightest suspicion that the system favors a particular employee, the entire process will be called into question, defeating the whole purpose.

Everyone must understand how the process works and how they might be recognized. If you're thanking someone for thinking outside the box, you should make this reason clear.

8. Not Stating Clear Goals

If you don't set clear goals for your employees, the process will be fraught with uncertainty. Your staff will not know which aspects of their performance to improve. So, outline clear goals from the beginning to provide your staff with a guiding light to improve their performance.

Alternatively, you can specify key performance indicators affecting the recognition program and communicate them across the organization.

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Employee appreciation programs have numerous advantages, and when used effectively, they can keep a business running smoothly. It fosters a workplace culture that encourages employee engagement, resulting in an atmosphere where people want to work.

The mistakes listed above are the most common and easiest to make by businesses. Avoiding these errors may appear to be a time-consuming task, but the benefits far exceed the drawbacks in the long run.


About Author: 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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