How to Build an Employee Recognition Program

Employee Recognition

An employee recognition program is a must-have for your company. According to statistics, around 83% of HR leaders state that an employee recognition program adds value to their company. Many organizations around the world take leverage from an employee recognition program and gain benefits.

The employee recognition program is quite helpful during the lockdown. This article will help you in building the most effective employee recognition program that gives you results. So, without further ado, let’s begin.

Why Employee Recognition is Important?

The employee recognition program can impact businesses by enhancing employee productivity, turnover and engagement. Great employees are always beneficial to organizations because of the following reasons:

  • These employees are high performers
  • They get connected to the company
  • Are willing to go beyond their role

The organizations that are willing to emphasize on appreciating and praising their employee’s achievements, see an increase in the engagement levels by 60%. Let’s see why it’s important.

Empuls xoxoday


Employee turnovers can cost a lot each year to the organizations as the team spends a lot on hardware and softwares for each employees.  When an employee leaves, the team absorbs the extra work that affects the company culture. Even when a new employee gets hired, he/she needs time to get trained in the new position. So having employee retain in the organization helps in increasing productivity.

According to the research, organizations having recognition programs were effective in improving employee engagement by a 30% lower turnover.


Productive employees are always welcome in the workplace. Everything gets correlated here, recognition boosts employee engagement, which increases productivity. If employees get complete feedback about their efforts, it would help increase their productivity. That doesn’t mean you have to greet every employee by clapping but by letting them know that their contributions are important towards the organization.

Employee Recognition program


Employee morale is an important thing that holds the company together. It is necessary for an organization and must be on the top of your priority list. If an employee suffers low morale, it impacts the contributions of other employees as well. High morale means higher productivity & satisfaction. Engaged employees are always satisfied with the work, but that’s not the case with other employees.


The workers who doesn’t have high morale are at risk of losing emotional connectivity and the organization can suffer from low productivity. These employees don’t give their most input and work just for the salary. In the long run, they can become deadweight for a company. How to increase it? According to a study, employees say that respectful treatment of employees is a contributor to job satisfaction. A company can provide respect in ample of ways, and a personalised approach would make the difference.


Recognizing an employee’s work is one thing and telling him that the impact of his or her work on the whole organization brings a sense of purpose. The transparency allows employees to know the value of their work. Employees are looking for a challenge and want to work for a purpose. This idea gets applied everywhere from working towards the company’s broader mission that promotes team collaboration. It is easier to get busy in the daily office work, so the recognition reminds everyone towards a common goal. Communicating company missions and values via public recognition also brings a sense of community that helps to keep employees engaged.

Where to focus your employee recognition program

Here are three main areas where you need to focus your employee recognition program:

Peer recognition

  • Employees have to spend time interacting with other employees, and there are a lot of opportunities for recognition.
  • Peers can see work that goes unnoticed by managers.
  • Peers recognising others have a positive influence within the organisations.

Team-based recognition

  • The entire team gets benefited that arrives from the recognition.
  • All employees work towards a common goal.
  • It encourages communication within the team.
  • It helps with the cross-training of employees.

Manager to employee recognition

  • The value of recognition is high as the person giving it has a high status
  • Limit the number of people who can provide recognition results

How To Build An Employee Recognition Program

Step 1: Do the Groundwork

Get to Know About the Benefits of the Program – Employee recognition programs reward hard work done by every employee. The programs are also helpful to boost productivity and performance. So, before creating your employee recognition program, check out some of the benefits that this program will bring:

  • Encourage employees to go beyond their limit
  • Positive impact on teamwork
  • Provides an understanding of company functions

Know the Main Goals of Your Employee Recognition Program –You need to set the goals of your employee recognition program. It depends on what you want to achieve. Some common goals make your program up and ready to go. Here are some objectives to help you:

  • The program should motivate employees to be at their best
  • Employees must know how to take part in the program
  • Your employees should know that they can make an impact on the company

Go for Formal and Informal Recognition – An ideal employee recognition program must have two methods of rewarding the performance. These techniques allow the employees to feel recognized both professionally and personally. An example of informal recognition includes staying late with a coworker to finish off the project and covering for someone who is ill.

Employee Recognition program

Step 2: Creatie an Employee Recognition Program

Set-Up a Team

The first step in forming your employee recognition is to create a team. The team will handle the formation of the program, implementation and management when it is up and running. Keep some tips in mind while forming a team:

  • It is good to mix employees and managers on your team
  • You have to decide how many members you will need for the group
  • You have to determine how members get selected in the team

Summarize The Program’s Purpose

The employee recognition program needs to have clear objectives. These objectives help the program to have goals and build steps to achieve them. An ideal employee recognition program should have the following features:

  • It should match the needs of your employees
  • Follow the company’s rules and regulations
  • Be fair to every employee

Define The Benchmark For Awards

You need to decide what actions get rewarded, and knowing these actions that lead to rewards can help to create an effective program. You need to include the key behaviours for the rewards criteria that you want to include in your company.

Decide The Rewards You Want To Offer

After you have decided the key behaviours, now you want to determine the reward. The rewards could depend on you, and they could be anything. The pro tip, the rewards should be something that an employee considers it valuable. It can be monetary or verbal praise or written praise.

Step 3: Launch the Employee Recognition Program

Let Employees Know About Your Employee Recognition Program

Once everything about the employee recognition program is in place, then you need to promote it. Getting employees excited about the program can give them a reason to join. The employees would know what to expect from the program, what are the rewards they can get. Try to promote the employee recognition program by these methods:

  • Send emails to employees
  • Promote the program on your company’s website
  • Post the details of the program on bulletin boards
  • Discuss the program while in meetings

Start The Program

As your program got finalized and your employees are aware of it, now is the time to start employee recognition program. It helps you to track the effect it has on your organization.

Measure The Program Effectiveness

The task now is to make sure the program is running. Tracking of the program allows determining how well it is working and any changes you might have to do. You can take help of survey tools, feedback sessions or brief interviews. Gather the feedback and use it to make adjustments.


Tips for Best Practice in Employee Recognition

Employee Recognition Program

Make the recognition relevant

Recognition is necessary for employees who show a glimpse of positive behaviours. Every positive behaviour that gets rewarded with recognition should focus on a business goal. The behaviour should be relevant to achieve the organisation’s goals and values.

Train managers on why recognition is necessary

There might be some cases when managers are not willing to introduce employees for doing their jobs. It becomes true when employees are working and might not be present as they would be on a day to day setting. To overcome this scenario you must get managers on board from the beginning by educating them with the benefits of employee recognition.

Personalise the recognition

When the efforts of the team get acknowledged, you need to ensure that communication gets personalised. Personalised communication should include their name and identify the behaviour they are being recognised for. You can include a recognition that has a monetary value, ensure that it benefits the employee.

Recognize every day

Not every day is going to be great, but if you show employees that the work and the efforts they are putting matters, it will be so much more than a job. It is necessary to surround your teams with a culture that drives performance. When an employee sees a promising future then he will work twice as hard to get a promotion or  be recognized at work. Their work experience becomes meaningful, so they give more and also stay longer.

Automate the recognition system

Recognition programs don’t need to cost a lot to install. There are online software programs that offer you the flexibility to automate a great deal of the recognition process. The simple way of doing this is by using employee recognition survey, that helps to capture recognition activities. If you choose to automate the process, ensure your system gets personalized enough to make the recognition work.

Fun recognition programs

Employees won’t like the same old boring recognition program. An organization should think of fun ways to incorporate the company’s style in the recognition campaigns. Some companies go live with their recognition programs during the holidays to get employees into a positive vibe.

Refresh your recognition program

Employee recognition and rewards program must move along with your company. Otherwise, employees could lose motivation over time. To keep your workplace engaged, you need to refresh the recognition program by working on the feedbacks of the employees. If your company goals change, then ensure the program gets updated.


Employee Recognition Myths Debunked

There are some myths that we hear, and they stop companies from taking the leverage of employee recognition. Here are some common myths:

  • A simple thank you is enough: Showing appreciation to employees with a thank you is great. But according to research, it shows that repeated thank you’s are not enough to make an impact or to motivate employees. Meaningful recognition with monetary benefits has the best impact over time.
  • Companies do not know where to begin: You cannot do it alone. You need to rely on an employee engagement company that has a proven record of successful employee recognition programs.
  • Recognition & appreciation are time-consuming tasks: Acknowledging employee’s efforts and appreciating takes a lot of time and energy, it may not be not more than a few minutes. For example, a simple compliment given by the manager to his reportee is much valued.

Employee Recognition Program

Examples Of Employee Recognition In Action

When it comes to employee recognition, there are a lot of companies out there who are looking to show some way for us. Here some good examples of employee recognition:

Google: Google learned via the experiences that non-monetary rewards easily motivate people than cash. They go to know that this employee recognition programs can lead to fostering jealousy within their business. So, Google came up with other recognition programs offering gadgets and dinners.

Nike: Nike recognises their employees by helping them to stay fit and support the wellness of their families. From product discounts to paid leaves, the employees stay engaged at work. They also have set up NikeU, which helps with leadership development.


The employee recognition program is a powerful technique for any organization to succeed and can be important for teams to feel valued, stay engaged and perform better. Recognizing your employees and rewarding accomplishments is necessary for the company’s success.

Merin is an HR professional with an MBA in Human Resource. She likes doing a lot of research and study in the field of Human Resource and can't help but share her knowledge on the same in this platform. She is also a great cook and during her free times she keeps experimenting with new dishes. Know more about Merin by clicking here.
Copy link