We all want acknowledgment for our hard work. And when that acknowledgment comes in the form of an official reward via an employee recognition program, it’s extra special. That’s precisely why these programs can have such a powerful impact on working environments and employee morale. 

But if you don’t already have one in place, where do you start? In this article, we’ll detail why employee recognition programs work and how to build one. But first, let’s clarify what they are. 

What Is an Employee Recognition Program?

A good employee recognition program shows that a company cares about celebrating everyone’s efforts. It reflects the company’s values and highlights the commitment to creating a great culture of excellence and mutual respect.

When a business values its employees, there are lots of approaches they may choose to make the working environment better. That could be allowing them flexible working hours and adopting specific tech tools such as Vonage cloud calling to make it easy for employees to work from anywhere.

But when you want to acknowledge the hard work of people and teams, using an employee recognition program is a great idea. These programs are organized efforts that highlight achievements and provide real rewards. So, they motivate employees to keep getting better, which is good for the business.

employee recognition program

Benefits of an Employee Recognition Program

The upsides of introducing an employee recognition program include:

  • Increased employee motivation. When people get rewards for their achievements, it motivates them to keep doing their best.
  • Lower staff turnover rates. Happy and fulfilled employees are more likely to stay loyal to their company for longer periods.
  • Greater productivity. This is a natural byproduct of a workforce that is inspired to perform at its best.
  • Talent magnet. An organization with a reputation for rewarding its employees is very attractive to high-tier candidates.

A Strategy for Building an Effective Employee Recognition Program

If you’re reading this, chances are that you’re keen to create a better working environment at your company. Perhaps you’ve purchased all the must-read workplace culture books and researched different leadership styles. Next, you want to implement an employee recognition program, so let’s take it step by step.

Outline Your Objective

Clearly stating the goals of the program is really important. Choose the behaviors and achievements that deserve recognition, like hitting a company goal or reaching a target. Then, decide who gets to give out the recognition.

Think about how you’ll tell people they’re being recognized and choose the best way to do it. Making sure everything fits together well will ensure your plan matches the company’s main goal.

Select Rewards 

Choosing rewards that match the program’s goals and that your team will enjoy is the fun part. Rewards can range from small gestures to actual things that suit different employee likes. So, what you can pick depends a lot on how much money you have to spend.

Don’t overlook how much a small gesture can mean. Rewards don’t have to cost a lot to show employees you value them. But connect the reward to the accomplishment and be ready to hear feedback. And this leads us to the next step.

Gather Input from Employees

Involving employees from the start and introducing it as a test project makes them feel part of it and shows the company cares about them. Getting their input helps avoid spending time and money on a new program that people don’t like.

Remember, not everyone will have the same interests or opinions. So, whether you gather your staff’s input in person, by email, or by virtual fax, listen and respect every viewpoint. Don’t assume you know what people will respond well to and use the feedback to tweak or reform your recognition plan accordingly.

Launch and Monitor

Try out the plan with a small group, listen to what they say, and make changes based on their feedback. After that, share it with the whole organization. Tell everyone about it clearly and with excitement before it starts. Once it’s going, keep an eye on how well it’s working.

Is everyone taking part? How is the plan affecting how well people do their jobs? How happy are they? And how much work do they get done? Keep looking at these numbers to see if there are trends or areas that need to get better. Remember, this is something you’ll need to keep working on to get the best results. 

Keep Improving

Promise to make the program better so that the workplace really values recognizing each other. Ask employees what they think and also look at how well the program is actually working. Use what you find out to change and fix the program as needed.

Maybe some rewards make a bigger difference, or some teams are more involved than others. Figuring this out will help you make a plan that goes beyond what you wanted. But remember, your job is never finished. As the company gets bigger, your team changes, and the world changes. So, your plan has to change too. This keeps people interested and involved.

Best Practices for Implementation of Your Employee Recognition Program

These are the guidelines to follow if you want to turn your employee recognition plan into a real, tangible success. 

Using Automation in Your Employee Recognition Program

New technologies are transforming many aspects of the way we work. Robotic Process Automation (RPA), for example, is cutting down time-consuming manual tasks, while AI can be used in job recruitment

Likewise, you can gain from using tools to make parts of your employee recognition program automatic. Many platforms are out there with features that can do the whole process automatically. 

This helps you recognize all accomplishments quickly and never forget a reward. Also, using automation saves a lot of time and resources. But just because it’s automated doesn’t mean it should feel less personal. People should still be a big part of it. So, it’s mostly about getting rid of extra paperwork and tasks. 

Encouraging Participation

A brand new recognition plan won’t work well unless everyone is on the same page. So, leaders should encourage everyone to take part. The best way is to create a friendly environment where everyone’s achievements are noticed and celebrated, and colleagues cheer each other on.

This makes the team feel closer and strengthens working relationships. It also makes the recognition even more powerful. When everyone in the company is involved, this culture of appreciation becomes something everyone cares about. Feeling more connected leads to greater loyalty to the company and fewer people leaving their jobs.

Setting a Realistic Budget

While it would be nice to give out luxurious vacations and expensive things as rewards, most companies can’t do that – and it’s not needed. You can still make a good recognition program even if you don’t have a lot of money. The key is to make sure it can last for a long time. You don’t want to offer something and then have to take it away because it’s too expensive.

This practical way of doing things also sets the stage for making your program bigger as your business gets bigger. Keep an eye on your budget to make sure the plan stays affordable. Figure out when you might need to spend less or when you can give more money to the program.

Encouraging Public Recognition

Highlighting outstanding contributors using regular and public communication gets everyone excited and inspired to do well. When employees who do a great job are recognized in front of everyone, it gives others something to aim for. And getting real rewards for hard work is a big motivation.

It’s also true that a company that celebrates its employees’ talents and achievements is an attractive place to work. So, this is also one of the best tips for attracting top talent.

Recognize Creative Ideas

Adding creativity to recognition programs makes them more interesting and exciting. When you come up with unique and imaginative ways to appreciate employees, it shows that the company really cares about making recognition special. 

These creative ideas can include special events that match the company’s values or personalized tokens of thanks for each person. Being creative in how you recognize someone shows that you really want to do more to appreciate their efforts. And it’s better and more memorable than just doing something ordinary. 

Create a Culture of Employee Recognition

A good employee recognition program can turn a workplace into a more appreciative and united team. It takes time, effort, and working together to make a successful program. But the rewards can be really great.

When people feel appreciated at work, they tend to work harder and get more done. Being part of a team that supports each other’s achievements makes the job more enjoyable. And they’re likely to stick around and grow in their career with the company.

So, starting an employee recognition program is like a good investment that benefits both the company and the employees.

If you have a great employee recognition program be sure to mention it in your job descriptions. And, if you want to learn more about creating the best (and most inclusive) JDs on the planet, request a demo of Ongig to learn more.

by in HR Content