Employee Recognition Programmes. What Are They & Why Should You Bother?

Making the most of your most important asset: people

If you’re looking to build a culture and working environment based on employee appreciation, then implementing a formalised employee recognition programme is an extremely effective strategy. There are loads of different ways to do it, and some really fantastic benefits for organisations that put in the effort.

Different types of employee recognition programme

There are lots of different ways employers can recognise employee achievements via a well thought out programme, including:

1. Peer-to-peer thank yous

Despite their best intentions, managers don’t see everything that goes on. Modern recognition programmes use peer to peer techniques to enable colleagues to recognise the quiet but critical high performers.

2. Social recognition

Modern recognition programmes are social. They use internal social media, such as recognition-specific tools or apps on their PCs or smartphones to instantly recognise colleagues who are going the extra mile or demonstrating company values, and the results are publicly displayed - for example, on the staff intranet so that anyone can see them.

3. Core values award

Core value recognition programmes recognise employees who, through their attitude, behaviour or actions, embrace your organisation’s core values (e.g. respect, commitment, or innovation).

4. Helping hand award

Helping hand award programmes recognise employees that have given outstanding encouragement, support or guidance to colleagues and other employees in your organisation outside of their appointed role.

5. Budgetary management recognition for regional management

Managing budgets can be challenging, so forward-thinking companies are introducing awards for regional management teams that proactively manage their budgets - creating realistic budgets, staying within budget, following policy guidelines, and taking corrective action to enhance performance.

6. End of year, best of the best, and Chair or CEO recognition awards

End of year, best of the best, and Chair or CEO recognition awards recognise and reward your top performers, whether that’s in delivering great customer service, demonstrating company values, or supporting others. Employees who receive these rewards can inspire other employees and encourage them to display similar behaviour.

7. Long service award

Long service awards are a tried and tested part of the reward mix, and are designed to recognise an employee’s on-going loyalty and commitment as well as their dedication, achievements and performance - not just to reward them for being with the company for so long.
In addition to the techniques mentioned above, you also need to consider whether your recognition awards will be adjudicated by an employee appreciation committee or require approval by a line manager.

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But why bother?

Business success depends on a lot of things, but perhaps most importantly it depends on its employees. After all many, many studies have shown that the most valuable asset a business has is its human resource.

That’s why successful businesses understand the importance of having a recognition and reward programme that thanks employees for their contribution to the business. Employee recognition programmes help keep employees motivated, reinforce company values and goals, lower absenteeism, stress and employee turnover, increase job satisfaction and productivity, and improve employee loyalty.

If you look at the businesses that people want to work for, and have a high level of staff loyalty, you’ll find that these businesses take the time to properly recognise and appreciate their employees.

There are different employee recognition schemes available to suit every business, from simple informal schemes that just say ‘thank you’, to formal schemes that offer high-end rewards such as a holiday or spa day. The recognition can also come from managers and leaders, or workers’ peers.

However, for an employee recognition scheme to deliver on its goals, and to contribute to business success, it must add value - which is why any organisation looking to set up, or refresh, such a programme must review and understand its rationale.

What's your goal?

Businesses need to think strategically when setting up or refreshing a recognition programme. What do they want it to achieve, and why are they setting it up? Reasons may include:

Survey after survey has proved that, while employees have benefited from greater recognition, so has the business, provided it has been set up in the right way.

Critical elements to an effective and successful employee recognition programme

While these programmes can be as individual as the business that is implementing it, all effective and successful programs have some common elements:

  • Management commitment to the recognition programme
  • Linked to improving the financial performance of the business
  • Consultation with employees when setting up the scheme and choosing rewards
  • Fair and transparent recognition and reward criteria
  • Simple and easy processes to nominate people for recognition
  • Continuous monitoring and evaluation

There's a lot to consider - and when financial times are a little bit tougher, it can be difficult to make the business case for spending more on a recognition programme. If you need more advice, why not have a read of our ebook on maximising rewards when belts are at their tighest by clicking the link below?

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