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Employee Recognition Programs

The Definitive Guide for Employee Recognition Programs

Employee Recognition Programs

The Definitive Guide for Employee Recognition Programs: The Significant Characteristics, and Benefits

Without a doubt, employees are the most significant assets of a company. They interact with clients, define the company’s work culture, and drive performance and profits. Yet, most companies worldwide struggle to retain their top employees. A recent report in Forbes magazine suggests that nearly 70% of the employees leave their company as they don’t receive enough recognition and appreciation.Thus, not appreciating employees’ good work or not recognizing their caliber may prove quite costly for the company. Therefore, entrepreneurs and managers should note that your enterprise needs vibrant rewards and recognition culture, including employee recognition programs to inspire and retain your people.

This article is a definite guide for employee recognition programs that walks you through its characteristics and significant benefits by giving answers to your doubts in a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section. Read on to learn more about creating employee rewards and recognition culture in your organization.

What is Employee Recognition?

Every enterprise needs a group of hardworking and dedicated employees to boost its performance and profits. Rewards and recognition always motivate people to put more into their work. Likewise, employee rewards and recognition acknowledge the dedication, hard work, and accomplishments of individual employees and teams in a company.

When you appreciate your employees with rewards and recognition, it creates an emotional bond between your company and employees. Your employees have to work for your company’s growth, and they accomplish some milestones while doing their job. If you uphold and appreciate their achievements, big or small, it adds to the positive experience of your employees and motivates them to stay true to your company’s values.

The Characteristics of Effective Employee Recognition Programs

It is the employers’ responsibility to initiate employee recognition programs, including employee rewards programs and employee recognition awards. These initiatives reward a company’s employees for achievement, productive behaviors, milestones, and anniversaries.

There are a good number of for an employee recognition program. But before getting into that, it is essential to understand the characteristics of an effective employee recognition program. Here are some of the prominent ones.

  1. Timeliness: Employee recognition awards will be effective only when given to the right person at the right time. When the time frame lengthens between achievement and recognition, both the efforts go wasted. So always giving out credit as early as an employee achieves something, and this timely recognition will create a positive connection between the employer and the employee. One tip for timely employee rewards and recognition program is to remove it from the annual meetings.
  2. Frequent: You should plan and conduct employee recognition programs frequently. And the results: more engaged employees, solid business results, and lower employee turnover. Commonly, employees achieve something every week. If you fail to recognize and reward their achievements, it increases their chances of feeling undervalued. Therefore, even small achievements should be recognized and rewarded. The latest research reveals that the companies that recognize and reward employees at least once a month accommodates 71% of highly engaged employees.
  3. Specified: When an employer gives out specified employee rewards and recognition, it helps employees realize their exact achievements that contributed positively to their team. A simple ‘Thanks, great work!’ never works in today’s world. You should acknowledge the details and context of achievement and reward accordingly. The employee rewards programs which are not specific show up as if they are insincere or unclear.
  4. Visibility: Employee recognition programs should be visible to a broader audience. Private employee rewards programs can be effective but not as effective as public recognition, which magnifies its impact. Sharing rewards and accolades to a wider audience everyone inside a business organization know that an achievement has been made. This facilitates collaboration and highlights solutions. In addition, it allows other employees to join the rewards and recognition process, thus, reinforcing positive behavior. Visible employee rewards and recognition bring to the limelight commendable behavior, achievements, and contributions that others can emulate. When a company makes its rewards and recognition process visible, it sheds light on innovations or challenges that trigger valuable discussions among teams.
  5. Inclusiveness: Employers should bring inclusiveness to employee rewards programs. Inclusiveness foster a sense of equity, belonging, and safety among employees. Recognizing yet rewarding employees and their achievements means showing the world what is really valued in your business culture. This can also eliminate the issues caused by the top-down recognition system and siloed team structure.
  6. Value-based: Every business has values, goals, ethics, and vision. Value-based employee rewards and recognition encourages teams to work toward the same values, goals, ethics, and vision. When you share positive feedback, make sure it aligns with your business values. Then, never forget to turn reinforcing those values through employee recognition into a deep-rooted habit.

The Significant Benefits of Employee Recognition Programs

Today, particularly after the pandemic, the business world is witnessing tremendous change. A change that is dominated by digital technology and data networks. Businesses are running behind digital transformation and laying off lowly skilled workers. Yet, all these changes are triggering more fabulous transformations that impact the world of the workforce.

The present businesses and workforce community face a wide variety of challenges. Some include an ever-increasing millennial workforce, a competitive hunt for talent, and pandemics.

These inevitable transformations point fingers at one critical element: employee rewards and recognition.

Now, let’s look at a few significant benefits of successful employee rewards programs.
  1. Higher Employee Retention RatesUnsuccessful employee rewards and recognition programs are why most companies struggle with higher employee turnover rates. We have already seen that the ‘lack of appreciation’ is the primary reason most employees quit their jobs.On the other hand, effective employee recognition programs motivate employees to emotionally invest in their job and stay longer in their companies. Thus, the results are lower employee turnover rates and higher retention rates.
  2. Higher Employee Engagement A recent Harvard Business Review states that 72% of the businesses say that employee recognition positively impacts and drives employee engagement. Timely and regular appreciation of employees’ achievements makes them feel valued. It also motivates them to put in more effort to keep up their excellent work. In short, employee recognition awards increase productivity, better customer service, and boost profits.
  3. Enhances Human Relationships and Team WorkThere has been a saying that people never leave their jobs or company; they leave their bosses or employers. So, the onus is on the employers to build stronger relationships with their employees.Setting up frequent employee rewards programs improves employer-employee relationships. It enhances communication, builds trust, and bridges the employer-employee gap. Employers should also train managers to properly plan and execute employee recognition awards for better results.Another significant benefit of employee rewards programs is that they improve peer relationships. When employees don’t hesitate to appreciate each other, the results would be boosted team morale and employee engagement.
  4. Creates an Interactive Workplace Culture Every human being loves getting appreciated while they also like cheering and encouraging others. Moreover, employee recognition is contagious. So, an employer should tap this potential to create an interactive workplace culture.When employee rewards and recognition become the daily norm in your company, it profoundly impacts the workplace culture. This means creating a positive environment where people value others’ strengths, talents, and efforts. Ultimately, it provides a sense of satisfaction and helps build solid colleague connections.
  5. Solidify Business Values According to another research, 83% of HR managers state that employee recognition programs solidify their business values.Your company holds various values or core principles, and a few of them include excellence, honesty, and punctuality. Employee rewards and recognition make your employees work towards these values and principles. So, design employee rewards programs to uplift your business values.The rewards and recognition that appreciate employees if they exhibit desired actions and behaviors towards strengthening your business values motivate them to put further efforts.
  6. Build Brand Value A solid employee rewards and recognition culture strengthens the brand value of your company. A company that recognizes and values employees would be the top priority of job candidates. A strong brand value is a positive factor as the hunt for talents is getting competitive at exponential rates.Adding to the benefit, employee recognition awards create brand advocacy from employees. Satisfied and happy workers share their positive employee experiences with their friends or on social media, becoming your active brand ambassadors.
  7. ‘Feel Good’ Employees Employee recognition programs also have a biochemical influence on the personality and performance of employers and employees. Rewards and appreciation boosts ‘feel good’ chemicals like Oxytocin, Dopamine, and Endorphin in our brains. People under the influence of these chemicals are happier, highly focused, and more productive. In addition, it brings down stress and absenteeism among employees.When employers or managers publicly appreciate an employee’s contribution to business success, it boosts the employee’s morale, keeping them happier and motivated.

A Few Practical Ideas for Employee Recognition Programs

Rewards and recognition shouldn’t confine to a company’s C-suite. That also means equal weightage should be given to employee rewards and recognition along with recognizing and rewarding directors or company founders.

From simply saying thanks more often and giving sincere compliments, there are several ways to make your employees feel heard and valued. Here are some of the practical ideas for employee rewards and recognition you should note.
  • Free gym time
  • Team walks
  • Power naps
  • Random gifts and surprises
  • Publish a yearbook
  • Client appreciations
  • Birthday hampers
  • Add employees’ achievements with photographs to the company’s website or social media handle.
  • Custom employee caricatures and oil paintings
  • Meals with leaders
  • ‘Town hall’ meetings to take employee ideas for the company’s decision making
  • Mentorship programs
  • Fun at work initiatives

Closing Notes

As explained in the guide, employee recognition is an employer’s initiative to show that they value their employees’ hard work and contribution to the business’ success. Employee recognition programs are no longer a ‘good to have’ initiative in today’s workplace – they’re crucial and key to employee satisfaction and productivity.

Employee appreciation and employee gratitude are two prominent synonyms that can be used for employee recognition initiatives. Well-devised and strategic employee recognition programs renew the spirit of your employees and inspire them to do the best work of their lives while creating a positive work culture.

FAQ – Employee Recognition Program

  1. What is an example of an employee recognition program?

    A thoughtful and consistent employee recognition program strategy is crucial for promoting the growth and success of your business. Employee rewards and recognition can be done through verbal compliments, monetary aids, personalized gifts, and fun events. Examples include the Years of Service award, Customer Service award, surprise celebrations, office outings, holiday parties, paid holidays, bonuses, gift cards, free meals, paid career development, and training opportunities.

  2. How do you create an employee recognition program?
    The first step to creating an efficient employee recognition program is to analyze your employees’ preferred way of rewards, recognition, and appreciation. It will help you pick the types of employee rewards and recognition programs to incorporate regularly into the workplace. Then, please refer to the various ideas on the employee rewards programs mentioned in the article to select or create one for your enterprise.
  3. What makes a good employee recognition program?
    The brief answer is good employee recognition programs would be the ones that fit your workforce and company culture. Some of the best practices for effective employee rewards and recognition include defining clear recognition program criteria and objectives, implementing a multifaceted employee rewards and recognition program, and ensuring an efficient launch and implementation. Remember that, ultimately, it is all about giving voice and choice to your employees.
  4. Do employee recognition programs work?
    Yes, of course, employee recognition programs work. But, remember, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. As companies embrace remote and hybrid work cultures, employee recognition is becoming more critical today than ever before. So take up the instructions and ideas in the article as your guide and consult with your managers to make an apt employee recognition program for your enterprise.
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