Not all employee recognition programs are created equal. So when you’re trying to develop the most effective program for your company, here are some important things to consider:

  1. Be inclusive. Too often employee recognition is geared towards the direct revenue producers within the organisation, specifically the top sales executives. But what about the sales support staff who help those sales executives achieve their goals? The quickest way see morale plummet is to let an entire division within the company go unnoticed. Everyone needs to feel appreciated.

  2. Put your money where your mouth is. Employee recognition programs don’t have to break the bank. But a small outlay of cash to show appreciation should certainly be considered. A survey by SHRM found that “When companies spend 1% or more of payroll on recognition, 85% see a positive impact on engagement.”  (SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey, 2012)

  3. Focus on peer-to-peer recognition. The problem with recognition programs where the winners are determined by management is that management is often accused of favouritism. What better way to eliminate that risk by putting the onus directly on the employees to determine which of their peers deserve recognition? Caveat: The actual recognition should come from the manager!

  4. Make it random. The problem with establishing a regularly scheduled thank-you such as a Wednesday lunch is that, over time, it just becomes expected and is no longer viewed as a reward at all. Establish an element of surprise and excitement when giving out recognition.

  5. Be timely. Quarterly, or even monthly recognition is not sufficient. People like to be recognised for their good deeds quickly, so make it a habit to acknowledge them as soon as possible.

  6. Just do it. The Dale Carnegie Global Leadership Study 2016 revealed that “Employees in the US and Canada were more likely to be inspired by leaders who ‘praise me for any performance improvement’ (71%).” And isn’t that the ultimate goal: inspired employees? So regardless of the type of recognition program that you establish, just do it. It’s one of the most important things you can do for your employees.

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