Employee Recognition Programs | Are You Looking To Make Yours Relevant?

Employee Recognition Programs | Are You Looking To Make Yours Relevant?

Employee Recognition Programs are important for every company, regardless of size. The good news is that any manager (in partnership with HR and the CEO) at any level in the business can introduce this initiative and bring it to life. All that is required is an individual that is passionate, persuasive with understanding of organisational change on how to lead people.




Let us say that you have an existing employee recognition program in place right now that you have realized is no longer serving its full purpose and you need to make some changes to your program to revive it.

What To Do Next?
Firstly, understand what needs to change, for example will the employee recognition program require new tools, or will it be that the process or criteria of recognition require a review, etc.

According to John Kotter the first thing to do when engaging in a change process would be to ‘Establish a sense of Urgency’. In kick-starting your process, communicate the need for change.

    • Communication with others, such as other line managers, employees will be the right direction toward building your business case. It will enable you to collect facts supporting your case.
    • It is not enough to refer to what other companies are doing about employee recognition as motivation for changing your program, gather hard-core facts specific to your business demands and context.
    • An employee preference survey will also assist you to gauge the effectiveness of your existing program.
    • It will be necessary to have people from functional areas provide different perspectives in your brainstorming session to enrich discussions about what is working or not as the first step in exploring the need for change. Turn this into a workshop facilitated session where key stakeholders come together – a consultative process.

employee recognition programs

Take a pulse to test how well your current employee recognition program measures up against global best practices.

Think about these questions when creating your new employee recognition program strategy

1 Is your recognition and rewards program company-wide?
2 Is your program aligned to your current organizational goals and objectives?
3 If not, is it a departmental program?
4 Does your program have an executive sponsor endorsing it?
5 Is your leadership team and line management involved in promoting the program and participation?
6 Do you have a recognition and rewards system or tool that you have in place for staff recognition?
7 Do you track your program’s participation across all your departments?
8 Do you track your recognition program’s participation across job levels?
9 Do you have a communication strategy and plan that is implemented consistently to support your program?
10 Do you measure your employee recognition effectiveness?

Before you launch your employee recognition program, think about critical success factors – what must be in place to make the program a success:

How do you go about choosing an Employee Award Name for a Recognition Program?

This isn’t about choosing any name just because it sounds good. The name of the program must align to what the organisational or departmental objectives are about the program, and this is only one of the factors to consider, thus ensure that you start with developing a recognition strategy.

How do you get everyone to be excited about a company or departmental recognition program?

A change and communication strategy as well as plan must be developed to create awareness, gain and sustain momentum for the program to have an impact

How do you measure the success of your program?

Matrices have to be put in place to measure ROI. Employee recognition links to discretionary effort and retention, however you would have to prove value to the business for them to continue investing in recognition initiatives.

Once you have gathered your facts about why the business has to change the existing program. The next thing for you to do, is to define new program objectives and map business processes that would ideally match your business.

♣ a recognition strategy review and realignment is necessary to support evolving business priorities as well as overall corporate objectives. Your program will not fundamentally be focused on the same objectives year on year ♣

Once you have your program strategy, program name and your goals in place, then you are ready to set up a recognition program. Why not set it up on digital platform? Verve-Employeez can help you brand your program and set it up within a 3 months.

After all, what is the fuss about- why have a program?

  • According to the Forbes study done in 2012, there is a $46 billion market for employee recognition (gold watches, pins, thank-you awards, plaques, etc.), and this research shows that companies spend between 1-2% of payroll on such, 87% of the recognition programs using criteria for employee recognition as tenure, followed by above-and beyond performance and peer-to-peer.
  • However in 2013-2015, WorldatWork study has shown a significant shift in employee award trends. For the first time, a greater number of employee recognition programs use criteria for recognizing employees as motivation for specific behaviors. Recognition of behaviors linked to corporate values jumped fourth on this list with a 7% increase in 2011 to 41% in 2013.


We provide webinar and onsite training: Executive Employee Engagement Training, Middle Management Employee Engagement Training, Change Champion Change Management Training, HRBP Employee Recognition Programme Management

These trends, definitely prove that it is time for most companies to catch up and review their employee recognition programs to achieve maximum returns and value to business. Whilst tenure shows appreciation to employee loyalty, using behaviors and company values to recognize staff promotes everyday appreciation and increased discretionary effort.

Get-on with the times- digital communication – find out about digital social employee recognition



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