Develop the Best Employee Recognition Program

Discover how to create an employee recognition program that makes a big difference to employee engagement and staff turnover

June 27, 2022
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Recognizing your teammates for their hard work is a simple way to drive employee engagement, reduce staff turnover, and make your company a great place to work. But without a dedicated program in place, employee recognition will more than likely get overlooked during the day-to-day of the business.

In fact, respondents to one survey said it’s been an average of 50 days since they last felt recognized in any way at work.

Read on for our guide to creating a simple employee recognition program that makes a big difference.

What is an employee recognition program?

An employee recognition program is a system that helps you acknowledge your staff for who they are and what they do for your organization.

There are plenty of ways to celebrate a teammate and encourage more of the behavior you want to see from them, from an annual awards ceremony to a simple “thank you” from a manager. 

An effective employee recognition program is a framework that makes it easy for you to spot when an employee has done something praise-worthy and recognize them in a way they’ll appreciate.

Why is an employee recognition program important? 

Recognizing and rewarding your teammates is one of the most effective ways there is to improve employee engagement, productivity, and retention. 

A massive 40% of employees say they’d put more energy into their work if they were recognized more often, while 37% of workers believe the most effective thing their organization can do to cause them to produce great work is to recognize them.

And you don’t have to throw a ticker-tape parade every time you want to recognize one of your teammates. Small employee recognition practices can make a big difference. In fact, 70% of employees say that motivation and morale would improve “massively” if managers simply said “thank you” more.

Employee recognition is so powerful that it even drastically outweighs performance-based rewards such as “pay me more” and “give me a promotion” as ways people say their employer could get the best from them.

Putting an employee recognition program in place will ensure you’re reaping the benefits of recognizing and rewarding your staff for their hard work and effort.

How do you create an employee recognition program?

A rewards and recognition program doesn’t have to be formal or complicated (after all, employee recognition works best when it’s fun and straightforward).

But a system that helps you spot when a member of staff deserves a shoutout is essential if you want to enjoy all the perks that come with recognizing your employees.

Here’s how to create an employee recognition program in five simple steps:

Define your “why?”

The most effective employee recognition initiatives are built on a clear “why”. You might want to reduce staff turnover, or address an employee engagement issue, or empower your people managers to recognize and reward their reports outside of annual reviews.

Get clear on the “why” behind your employee recognition program and it will have the best chances of success.

Learn how to recognize your employees effectively

Not all employee recognition is created equal. The recognition you give your employees will have the biggest impact if it:

Is timely

Recognition is most effective when it’s given immediately, regularly and consistently. Organizations that double the number of employees that are recognized for their work on a weekly basis experience a 24% improvement in work quality and a 27% reduction in absenteeism.

You’re missing a trick if you’re waiting until annual review time to let your employees know all the great things they bring to your organization.

Is tailored to how they like to be recognized

Some people love the idea of having the whole office’s attention drawn to their good deeds, while others hate being the center of attention and would much prefer a private thanks from their manager.

There are as many ways to show appreciation as you have employees, but a few that always go down well are. So, task people managers with learning how each of their reports prefers to be praised and then recognize them in the way they best respond to for the best results. 

Is unconditional

Want to make sure each and every one of your employees feel truly recognized? Focus on giving them unconditional praise. 

This means celebrating them for who they are, not what they’ve done for your business.

Taking the time to recognize an employee for their attitude, the way they interact with their colleagues, or the way they approach their work will go a lot further than rewarding them for hitting a tight deadline or achieving a KPI.

Build a team of champions

We all intuitively understand that praise is a great motivator and key factor in our mental wellbeing. And yet 65% of employees say they haven’t received any form of recognition for good work in the last year.

To make employee recognition the norm in your business, you’ll need to form a task force to take the lead on baking recognition and rewards into your company culture.

The most meaningful feedback comes from a person’s line manager – followed by an acknowledgement from a senior leader or CEO. So, be sure your team of employee recognition champions is filled with plenty senior team members to make sure it sticks at that level and makes the biggest possible impact.

Get the right tools

The tools you provide your employees with are going to have a huge impact on the success of your employee recognition program. In fact, 44% of all workers will provide peer-to-peer recognition on an ongoing basis when given a simple tool that lets them.

Giving your people tools that make it easy for them to praise their colleagues – like Assembly’s Give Recognition Flow – is a simple way to make sure your recognition program sticks. 

Start recognizing employees today with Assembly. Book a demo to learn more

Once your recognition program is in full swing it’s time to measure the impact it’s having and make adjustments if needed.

Surveying your staff about how recognized they feel at work before you launch your program and then again after it’s been running for a few months will give you invaluable data to go off. 

Asking your teammates if they feel recognized in weekly check-ins and one-to-ones is also a good way to keep your finger on the pulse of how recognized different departments or seniority levels across your business are feeling and adjust your approach accordingly.

All this data can help you refine your efforts and make sure your entire team feels recognized for everything they do for your business.

Empower your organization with all the tools you need to launch an employee recognition program and start measuring the results with Assembly. Book a demo to learn more.

Browse our Free Employee Recognition Guide

Get the foundational knowledge on creating an employee recognition program that boosts employee engagement and helps them feel valued.

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Employee recognition guide