Employee Recognition

Employee Recognition Programs

We help our clients become the hero in their own story.

What are Employee Recognition Programs?

Employee recognition programs are, obviously, programs that help you recognize employees that perform well—but it’s so much more than that. Expand your recognition program or recognition strategy by building out specific recognition programs focusing on what matters most at your organization. This increases engagement and unites your workforce. In fact, one study found that 93% of employees felt their work had greater meaning and purpose when their recognition program was tied to company values. Value-driven recognition is one of the most powerful ways you can unite your organization.

A well-rounded recognition program can include many different smaller programs targeted at specific behaviors and people: sales incentives, wellness programs, work from home programs, referral programs, value spotlights, spot recognition, peer-to-peer recognition, work anniversaries, and much more. It's important to remember that recognition should also be as inclusive as possible. In other words, you should create a variety of programs and everyone (not just management) should participate.

We help our clients become the hero in their own story.

Benefits of an Employee Recognition Program

The biggest benefit of recognition is the positive value it creates and perpetuates. At Awardco, we call this perpetual positivity the Value Cycle. When an employee brings value to the organization in the form of positive behavior, it must be noticed and recognized. When it is recognized, a rewarding feeling must soon follow to reinforce the value to the individual exhibiting the positive behavior. When the cycle is completed with a reward that is truly felt, the behavior is more likely to be repeated.

As behavior reinforcing the values of the organization are repeated, others are encouraged to do the same and a snowball of positive company culture grows. This creates momentum and energy at an organization that is contagious.

The Value Cycle is essential in purposeful employee recognition.
The Value Cycle improves value adoption, drives behavior, and builds culture.

When your employees feel valued, they add more value as a result. It’s that simple. 

The act of receiving recognition helps an employee feel like they are part of a team. It creates a sense of security and belonging. You can help top performing employees feel like their work is noticed and that you appreciate the great job they’re doing. 

When there are so many things to invest in, recognition might not be at the top of your mind. However, it is one of the most beneficial things you can do to improve company metrics. Recognition improves engagement by 2X. And one study found that increased engagement means productivity rises by as much as 17%, employee turnover falls by 31%, sales go up by 20%. And much more. Recognition can even save your company money and improve your bottom line.

Help employees see the big picture. Particularly if their job is one that might be more in the weeds or behind the scenes. Maybe they don’t get a lot of recognition for their work or maybe they do a small, but important task that contributes to the overall purpose of your company. For example, make sure that people see the work that was done or tell them how customers appreciate the service provided. 

Let's go into detail on those benefits of employee recognition programs: 

Increased Engagement

Increased engagement is one of the primary benefits of employee recognition programs. Few things are more motivating than knowing your work is appreciated. Set up a recognition program that includes peer-to-peer recognition. This will encourage team members to be more aware of what the people around them are doing.

Reduced Turnover

63% of employees who are recognized are very unlikely to look for a new job. Retaining employees saves you time and money. Employees who stay with your company continue to add value the longer they’re there because they have invaluable knowledge and experience. Plus, the cost of hiring and training really adds up when you have a lot of turnover.

Human beings need to feel a sense of belonging and be motivated to be their best.

Lower Absenteeism

Employee recognition can lower absenteeism as much as 81%. If people don’t feel valued, they aren’t going to want to come into work. People are already hesitant to come back into the office after months of working from home, so recognition programs are more important now than ever.

In short, set up recognition programs and you get happier, more productive employees. 

We help our clients become the hero in their own story.

Challenges of Employee Recognition Programs

So again we ask, why doesn't every organization run flawless recognition programs wherein all employees are engaged and contributing value at a high-level? Well, it's not that simple. Employee recognition programs come with their fair share of challenges.

The challenges of recognition programs we hear most often in speaking with new clients are:

Too Manual

Doing recognition right can be a lot of work, especially if you don't have any way to scale the work for larger organizations. Processes that involve several people (possibly in different locations) and require following up on manual tasks to ensure their completion are rarely successful.

Organizational Inconsistency

No two human beings are exactly the same, so it makes sense for management styles to vary greatly from leader to leader. When it comes to recognition, that means some people are celebrated, while others can be forgotten.


For many organizations, the act of recognizing employees is more important than how they're being recognized. Dedicating 15 years of your career to one organization only to receive a pointy glass object with your name on it doesn't seem very sincere, does it?

No Direction or Purpose

If recognition programs are not value or purpose-driven, employees can see right though it. Programs can quickly become just another checkbox on leaders' to-do lists or devolve into simple popularity contests.

Not Rewarding

Human beings are complex creatures, but incredibly simple at the same time. If we do not see the merit, benefit, or value in doing something, we just don't do it. Recognition programs that don't reward employees will not last long.

We help our clients become the hero in their own story.

Benefits of Employee Recognition Software

Luckily, modern software has provided solutions to many of the challenges of running employee recognition programs. Frankly, Awardco exists to solve those problems specifically. The benefits of employee recognition software are many:


Automation simply makes the life of an HR admin easier. Automate annual awards like work anniversaries and birthdays. Automate onboarding, holidays, Employee Appreciation Day, and more. You don’t have to worry about remembering important dates because emails will be sent out automatically.


Awardco doesn’t have markups on rewards, so you get more bang for your buck. Other rewards programs have markups that almost double the cost, but we want the reward to be valuable to the person receiving it.


Empower your people to own their own incentives and claim their own rewards. Awardco's Earn programs encourage exactly that through sales competitions, safety trainings, I.T. trainings, competitions, wellness programs, and more.


Awardco makes it easy to create programs that give structure to your recognition programs. If you’re not sure where to start we are here to walk you through it.

All-in-One Platform

Manage all your programs and analyze data all in one place. Organize your budgeting, taxes, automation, reporting, and more in the same platform.

Easy to Use

The best software is easy to use for both admins and regular users. Recognize in just a few clicks. Redeem rewards easily and have them shipped right to your door. Our platform is intuitive and easy to learn.

Reward Options

Thanks to our partnership with Amazon Business and other great companies we have millions of reward options, including access to items on Amazon, gift cards, charity donations, and travel.

We help our clients become the hero in their own story.

Creating an Employee Recognition Program

Recognizing and rewarding your employees should be, well, rewarding. However, it can seem daunting at first. We’re here to help. 

To start, you just need to know a couple things:

  1. The types of behavior you want to encourage.
  2. How you want to reward employees. 

We’re big believers in value-driven recognition, so a good first step is knowing what your company values are. Are you in a stage where growth is most important? What are you doing to improve company culture? You want to set up recognition programs that recognize employees for the things that actually matter to your overall organization. Otherwise, it won’t be as effective.

Creating Recognition Programs with Awardco

Awardco’s innovative and intuitive software helps you automate and simplify the process. 

Our goal is to make it easier for you to recognize your employees for great work. With Awardco you can control multiple programs, each with unique settings, features, and requirements all from the same place. Your Client Success Manager will walk you through it and make sure you set up programs that are unique, and beneficial, to your organization. 

Next, you'll want to customize your programs to what you want and need, including some of the overall look of the platform. You can choose design elements such as banner images and email templates as well as logistical details like privacy settings and approvals.

The biggest benefit we hear from new clients is how easy Awardco is to use. We’ve combined the most desired and useful features into one platform to give you an all-in-one solution. You can recognize, nominate, approve, allocate budget, run reports, and manage multiple programs all in one place. We’ve also consolidated recognitions into a single social feed, so recognitions from separate programs can be seen in one place. 

Remember, you’re in control. Set eligibility limits for nominators and recipients to be sure the right people see the right programs including limits on nomination amount and frequency, restrict or allow access to a budget of your choice for each program, and much more. You can even link to any recognition programs you may have outside of Awardco to further consolidate your efforts.

Some programs need extra information to qualify a recognition, so decide what questions you’d like to ask for each program. Do you need to know why someone is being nominated for an employee of the month program? Maybe you’d like to know exactly how many steps the person completed for the wellness program? You can set that and more with each individual program. 

Set up incentive programs with the Earn feature. Earn programs are slightly different because employees can claim their own points for completing tasks or meeting goals. For example, give points for completing internal surveys or finishing training. You still set the terms and the budget, but employees can take initiative for their own rewards.

The capabilities of Awardco’s software allow you to do just about anything you’d ever want to do with a recognition program, and we’re adding new features all the time. We're serious about reimagining recognition and we'd love to reimagine what is possible for your organization.

We help our clients become the hero in their own story.

In Summary

Employee recognition has been proven to deliver on promises like reduced turnover and increased engagement. The key to unlocking the door to the positive results mentioned is using technology to build strategic, scalable and rewarding recognition programs.

So, what do strategic, scalable and rewarding recognition programs look like? Let's take a look...

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