Programs for Employee Recognition: 5 Best Practices

Smiling mature businessman sitting with colleagues in an office

Employee recognition openly acknowledges a team member’s contributions, results, and impact on the company. This promotes employee engagement and productivity. It also elevates performance, morale, and retention.

Bonusly’s 2022 study What Employees Want: More Appreciation at Work showed that 65% of employees would put more effort into their work if they received more recognition. Also, 44% were likely to find a new job if their company did not prioritize employee recognition.

Effective employee recognition is timely, specific, and frequent. It should occur soon after a specific event. This helps employees understand which actions they should repeat. It also provides motivation to continue these behaviors.

Meaningful employee recognition is visible, inclusive, and values-based. It reinforces your acknowledgment and appreciation of your employees’ work. This promotes collaboration, reinforces company values, and strengthens team connections.

The holiday season is a great time to begin or update your employee recognition program. This program should continue year-round for maximum effectiveness.

Implement these five best practices in your employee recognition program.

1. Define the Criteria and Objectives

Clarify the behaviors and impact on business objectives you would like to see. For instance, if your company tends to work in silos, you might reward cross-departmental collaboration.

Determine how to reward desired behaviors. You may want to blend public praise with a tangible reward. This pairing helps remind employees of their achievements longer than praise alone.

Set the frequency of employee recognition. Regularly providing on-the-spot praise and discussing the behavior during a team meeting can amplify the effects.

2. Provide Praise and Rewards

Express gratitude and give a gift for employee recognition. Examples include a gift card, an additional vacation day, or a small bonus.

Words of thanks help employees feel valued and respected. Receiving gifts reinforces these feelings.

3. Request Employee Input on Rewards

Talk with employees to determine which types of rewards they prefer. Although some employees may want gift cards for specific products or services, others may desire company-branded items.

When you have ideas for employee rewards, send a survey asking for feedback. Involving employees in the reward decisions increases their involvement in the program.

4. Implement the Program

Communicate with managers the details of the employee recognition program. Include the program’s purpose, how to use it, and when it begins. These details help the program be implemented as smoothly as possible.

Emphasize how the employee recognition program reinforces existing priorities. This encourages managers to appropriately carry out the program.

Remind managers to make employee recognition highly visible. This fosters a culture of behaving in line with company values.

5. Measure the Program’s Effectiveness

Implement a measurement of success to determine whether your employee recognition program elevates employee engagement, morale, or another targeted area of the business. Your measurement of success may include pulse surveys, short interviews or feedback sessions, or employee net promoter scores.

Use your results to modify your employee recognition program as needed. Regularly repeat the measurement process for continuous improvement.

Need Additional Advice?

For more information about best practices for implementing an employee recognition program, get in touch with HireCall. Contact us today!