Creative Ideas for Employee Recognition Programmes that will Engage your People


What is an employee recognition programme?

Why is it important that employees are engaged?

What are the benefits of a solid recognition programme to your business?

4 creative ideas for employee recognition programmes

Improve your employee recognition with Sodexo Engage


Creative Ideas for Employee Recognition Programmes that will Engage your People

Employee recognition is essential for modern organisations.

According to research by Deloitte, recognition programmes lead to a 31% lower voluntary staff churn rate.. What’s more, when your organisation implements an employee recognition programme, it’s 12x more likely that your organisation has strong business outcomes.

But how do you know what to include in that programme?

Let’s take a look at some ideas for creative employee recognition programmes that will deliver ROI for your business.

What is an employee recognition programme?

Employee rewards and recognition can take many different forms.

It can be a simple thank you, a shoutout in a company newsletter or a bumper Christmas bonus.

An employee recognition programme brings every element of recognition into one place, helping to:

  • Keep employees motivated 
  • Reinforce company values and goals
  • Lower absenteeism
  • Reduce stress and employee turnover
  • Increase job satisfaction
  • Increase productivity
  • Improve employee loyalty

An employee recognition programme should include rewards for a job well done, for example eVouchers or gift cards, celebration packages for work or personal milestones, and ongoing incentives for consistent performance and loyalty.

Why is it important that employees are engaged?

If you want your business to meet its goals and deliver strong business outcomes your employees must be engaged—and the stats back this up.

A Sage whitepaper revealed that the UK economy loses £52-70 billion in productivity each year due to employee disengagement, while research has also found that dissatisfied employees waste £2,732 per person on average in recruitment costs compared with happy staff.

But engaged employees don’t just save your business money—they help you to outperform competitors too.

A Gallup survey found that companies with an engaged workforce deliver 147% more earnings per share than other businesses in their industry.

What are the benefits of a solid recognition programme to your business?

There are a number of benefits to implementing an employee recognition programme.

Improved talent acquisition

More than two thirds (70%) of candidates now consult company reviews before making a career decision, and having an employee recognition programme in place will help build a great company reputation on the likes of Glassdoor.

In fact, almost one third (31%) of candidates have turned down a job offer due to negative online reviews.

Improve talent retention

As we’ve already mentioned, employees now expect their companies to frequently reward and recognise their work, and are willing to leave for a new role if they don’t get it.

Organisations with recognition programmes had 31% lower voluntary staff churn than those without.

Increased productivity

Why should your employees go above and beyond the bare minimum if their efforts aren’t going to be recognised?

A HubSpot study found that 69% of employees would work harder if they felt their hard work was going to be recognised.

We’re also more productive when we’re happy at work, and there’s a strong relationship between the amount of recognition an employee receives and their happiness at work. 

4 creative ideas for employee recognition programmes

The benefits of an employee recognition programme is clear, but which employee recognition awards ideas will engage your workforce?

1. Empower employees to reward themselves in a way that suits them

People love receiving gifts, whether that’s at work or in their personal lives, but have you ever received a gift that’s not really what you wanted?

Sometimes employee recognition can make this mistake too.

Don’t assume you know what your employees want, and offer rewards that they can use in a way that suits them.

There are a few different options here.

For example, eVouchers that can be used at a wide range of retailers or, even better, a prepaid recognition card. Unlike set rewards, a prepaid card empowers employees to spend their money wherever they see fit.

2. Creative team building activities

Successful organisations don’t just have high-performing individuals, they also have high-performing teams.

Individual recognition won’t be enough to drive collaboration and teamwork, so you need to set and reward team goals too.

Team building activities, both to reward performance and simply build a more cohesive team, should be a key part of your recognition programme.

It’s also important these are inclusive, so don’t only run physical team building activities that exclude physically less able employees, nights out that exclude employees who are more introverted or don’t drink alcohol, or office-based activities that exclude remote and hybrid workers.

3. Give the gift of film

The best thing about rewarding employees with film vouchers, particularly if they can be used for movies at the cinema or at home, is that they’re suitable for everyone.

Whether you love a night at the cinema, or prefer staying in and not having to worry about getting your seat kicked, film vouchers are an inclusive way of saying thank you.

4. Celebrate National Employee Appreciation Day

National Employee Appreciation Day is celebrated on the first Friday of March, and represents a great opportunity to celebrate your employees across the organisation and thank them for their hard work.

This could be the perfect opportunity for a company-wide team building day, or even rewards and fun activities every day of that week.

Improve your employee recognition with Sodexo Engage

Getting employee recognition right is vital if you want to hit your business goals and foster a positive and productive workplace culture.

However, that’s difficult to achieve without the support of a provider with a proven track record of delivering employee recognition solutions that really work.

At Sodexo Engage we’ve been working with some of the UK’s leading organisations to create an employee recognition platform that works for them. We don’t prescribe a set list of products—we work with you to identify the incentives and rewards that will resonate with your workforce. 

Get in touch with our expert team today to find out more about our employee recognition offering, including:

  • A comprehensive employee incentives platform—make sure your team is smashing expectations every time, and keep them focused on targets.
  • Recognition prepaid cards—the ultimate spending freedom, prepaid cards are accepted anywhere that accepts Visa. What’s more, they can be reloaded, meaning you don’t need to keep ordering them every month.
    Employee gift cards—with over 80 brands to choose from that can be spent online or in-store, we’ve got a wide range of eVouchers.
  • Branded voucher cheques—voucher cheques can be designed around your organisation’s brand, while allowing the recipient to choose the reward of their choice.
  • Celebration packages—reward outstanding performance, long service or a company milestone with one of our employee celebration packages. We build a comprehensive celebration experience, taking a strategic approach that never fails to let everyone know they’re appreciated.