How To Make The Most Of An Employee Recognition Program

how to make the most of an employee recognition program

Do you know what your employees want? In many cases, it’s not more pay or better benefits (although, if you think that paying your employees more will make them truly happier, that might mean you’re not paying enough). Instead, what many employees want from their employers is more recognition of the contributions they bring to the organization. Top that with some acknowledgement that they are whole, complete human beings with lives outside of the office, and you’re on the way to building a team that will stay loyal and work hard no matter what tasks you throw at them.

Putting together an effective employee recognition program isn’t always easy, but it’s worth it for the increases in productivity, engagement, and retention that it can bring to your company. To make an employee recognition program work, you need to get your team’s input on the kinds of recognition they prefer, and their help in making the program succeed. Set clear goals for your recognition program and use the right tools to both implement the program and quantify the results. Establish criteria that give everyone in the company an equal chance at earning recognition, and get managers on board so that recognition can come from leadership for the biggest impact.

Bring Your Team In On It

Gallup has found that the most effective recognition is tailored to the individual preferences of each team member. That’s why you need to get employees’ input on what they prefer in terms of appreciation and recognition on the job. Some people want you to shout their praise from the rooftops. Others would prefer recognition to be delivered in a more intimate setting. Some people want to be rewarded with cash bonuses, while others like gift cards or extra paid days off. Still others would prefer professional development opportunities or better tools with which to do their jobs. And more people than you would think are happy just knowing that you’ve seen what they’re doing and are grateful for it.

Take the time to get input from your team members on their recognition preferences. You can talk to them individually or pass around surveys. However, so you can tailor recognition to meet the needs of each person, it’s best not to do those surveys anonymously.

Know What You Want From Your Recognition Program

You’ll have a hard time getting what you want from a recognition program if you’re not clear on what, exactly, that is. Sit down in the initial planning stages and make a list of goals for your employee recognition endeavors. Maybe you want to boost morale and motivate your employees more. Maybe you’re having a problem with turnover and want to stop your company from leaking good performers. Maybe you want to attract better candidates to your organization. These are all worthwhile goals and with the right tools, you can make them happen, but you have to know what you’re aiming for in order to make the shot.

Use The Right Tools

If you want to really make the most of your recognition program, you need the right employee recognition platform to help you. There are so many different components to a successful recognition program: showing gratitude, acknowledging employees’ life milestones, praising employees for reaching goals, offering chances for professional development, encouraging peer-to-peer recognition, administering yearly performance reviews, and so on. A comprehensive employee recognition platform can help you keep everything straight – and it can help you collect the raw data you need to be sure that your recognition program is working.

Set Criteria That Are Fair To Everyone

You don’t want favoritism to infect your recognition program, and you don’t want some departments or employees feeling left out of the appreciation cycle. Make sure that every employee is equally eligible for recognition, and that everyone feels appreciated in the way that most makes sense to them. Set criteria for things that can apply to everyone, like teamwork, efficiency, customer service, and cost savings.

Get Managers On The Same Page

Employees don’t want praise from human resources – they crave it from their bosses and from their colleagues. Make sure managers are on board with doling out words of praise and acknowledgment, and that they’re committed to making the recognition program work for everyone. Offer opportunities for peers to recognize one another, so that everyone can feel like they’re valued members of their respective teams.

Employee recognition is the lifeblood of a strong company. Don’t skip out on giving your employees the appreciation, praise, and gratitude they need. It can make all the difference in keeping your employees loyal, engaged, and productive.

About Brian: Brian Jackson is the founder of Shoestring Branding - a marketing and branding blog for entrepreneurs, with an emphasis on internet-based tools and strategies.