Best Practices for Employee Recognition Programs

By Benefit One USA, Inc. Aug 06, 2020



82% of all employed Americans do not feel appreciated and recognized by their supervisors for their efforts. This lack of recognition negatively impacts employee engagement, morale, productivity, and eventually the company’s bottom line. However, with 31% of the senior management unsure about the effectiveness of the program and another 17% considering it too much of an expense, many companies don’t have a great recognition program in place. 

Not surprisingly though, companies that invest in a building a ‘recognition-rich’ culture witness a 31% drop in their turnover. An effective employee recognition program engages employees, makes them feel valued, boosts productivity, and inculcates a sense of loyalty for the company. 

Looking to establish an employee recognition program within your organization. Here are 5 best practices that will help you create a positive culture of recognition for your employees. 

  • Define clear objectives for the program

As you begin to design your employee recognition program for your organization, it is important to clearly define the behavior or achievement the organization values and would like to reward. A few questions to ask the team are:

  • What types of behavior should be rewarded
  • How should you reward the employees?
  • How often should recognition occur? 
  • Who should the recognition come from? 

          The answers to these questions will all be dependent on your business objectives, your company culture, and the budget you are working with. No recognition program is a one-size-fits-all solution. These questions will help you define the recognition program that will work best for your organization. 


  • Include employees in the decision-making process

Your employees are bound to feel more appreciated and engaged when their voice and opinions are taken into account, especially when it comes to things like a recognition program. It might be best to not assume what your employees prefer. Instead, a good practice might be to survey your employees once you have a draft of your recognition program ready. When employees feel like they have a say in their recognition program, they are bound to be more involved in the process. 

  • Institute a diverse rewards and recognition program

Research has shown that employees don’t always just prefer cash rewards over intangible modes of recognition. It would serve your organization well to adopt a two-pronged approach toward recognition. One would include cash or gift cards award, the second should be praise and symbolic appreciation. Both these types of reward and recognition are important for true employee engagement. While cash rewards are definitely appreciated, no accompanying note or explanation makes it difficult for employees to truly understand what behaviors to repeat. 

  • Make it regular and instant

Don’t schedule all your employee recognition to coincide with the yearly performance review. Also, instant recognition and appreciation are far more effective since it really drives in the reasoning for the rewards and motivates employees instantly instead of having to wait for the end of the year. 

Employee recognition tools such as Benefit One USA’s tool can be uniquely customized to fit your company’s needs. With our point-based system, instant recognition is no longer difficult to implement. 

  • Ensure effective implementation

The success of any new program hinges on how well is the communication around it and how well it is implemented. When rolling out a new recognition program, it is important to inform and train your employees on how it will work, how to use it. Once implemented, you can always tweak the processes if certain things don’t work as well. 

As you implement your recognition program keeping these best practices in mind, you will notice a spike in productivity and employee engagement. Employee appreciation is an investment that can transform your organization, team culture, and company bottom line for the better. 

Posted in Employee Recognition, employee appreciation, Employee Retention