4 min read

Best Practices For Employee Recognition Programs

Employee recognition elevates feelings of accomplishment and belonging. It is defined as the expressed appreciation and open acknowledgement of an employee's contributions to the organisation. It provides several social, business and wellness advantages to teams. Some organisations falsely believe that a year-end pat on the back or employee-of-the-month notice constitutes as employee recognition program best practices.

Recognising employees for their efforts leads to increased engagement, motivation, productivity, satisfaction and loyalty to the organisation. A successful employee recognition program can achieve these objectives by making employees feel like valuable contributors to the organisation's success. Do not dismiss opportunities for employee appreciation; instead, celebrate their wins every time great work happens. Solely relying on years of service awards is not the only way to go.

Following are the best practices for employee recognition programs:

1. Set clear objectives

Employers should be specific and clear about the impact of recognition on business objectives and behaviour or actions they'd like to see from recognition programs. Your program should be able to answer the following questions to have a strong foundation on which to build recognition and relationships:

  • What types of behaviours will be rewarded, and how should the desired behaviour be rewarded?
  • How often should recognition occur, and to whom should it come from?
  • What are some meaningful ways to recognise employees?
  • Why do you want to implement a program that delivers best practices on employee recognition?

2. Multi-pronged rewards and recognition program

Research suggests that employees do not always seek cash rewards but non-tangible rewards. It is not always about extrinsic but intrinsic motivation. Two types of recognition help reinforce desired employee behaviours; praise and emblematic recognition and token and monetary rewards. Both forms of recognition complement each other. There should be a clear establishment of the way to replicate the behaviours that lead to getting a bonus or praise.

3. Give your employees a voice and a choice

Engage your employees to understand the types of rewards they need and are most interested in instead of assuming you know what they want. It is easy to get employee preferences by sending out survey questions and asking for feedback once you have drafted ideas for potential rewards. Giving employees a voice and the opportunity to choose can increase their investment in the program.

4. Ensure effective implementation

The communication around the roll-out should be clear, and the program's implementation should be free of any ambiguity. The management and participating members should be aligned on the program's purpose, how to use it and when it will take effect. Organisations must ensure their goals and objectives align with employee recognition programs. Praise should be publicly visible to foster a culture of recognition. Lastly, it is also essential to determine how the current technology will deliver the program. If your company uses a communication collaboration tool like slack, find a program that integrates. Consider using an automated system to fulfil rewards.

5. Measure the effectiveness

A measurement system like employer net promoter score (NPS) is a way to measure the effectiveness of recognition on factors like morale and employee engagement. Gather 360-degree feedback regularly by conducting pulse surveys, interviews, and feedback sessions or using any performance management software to adjust your program.

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