The 5 Most Important Aspects of Effective Recognition

Wondering how effective your employee recognition programs are? You probably don’t have to venture too far to know if your employees feel valued and appreciated. Nowadays, a quick employee survey will give you a clear understanding if your employees feel engaged and valued at their job. Worse, your retention rates will take a significant hit the minute your employees feel undervalued.

American businessman and entrepreneur Sam Walton said it best:

“Appreciate everything your associates do for the business. Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free and worth a fortune.”

In order to keep spirits — and retention rates — high, effective recognition programs are a must. Keep these five aspects in mind when you are either creating or revamping your employee recognition programs.

  1. Personalization

Especially with the continual influx of Millennials in the work environment, personalization is a necessity. Furthermore, personalized recognition for Millennials can help send the message that companies know them on an individual level and want to help them succeed now and in the future.

Smiling Business Man With Laptop Makes Personalized Rewards

By Dima Sidelnikov: Shutterstock

“I’m getting Lisa a puppy for her 5 Year anniversary!”

What does personalized recognition look like? Instead of outdated gifts, consider a personalized award platform that gives employees the option to choose a meaningful gift. At Awardco, our customizable employee recognition platform can be tailored to your organizational needs and seamlessly integrates personalized recognition.

  1. Who it comes from

Where should the recognition be coming from? Managers first, then peers. According to Gallup workplace survey in 2016, “Employees were asked to recall who gave them their most meaningful and memorable recognition. The data revealed the most memorable recognition comes most often from an employee’s manager (28%), followed by a high-level leader or CEO (24%), the manager’s manager (12%), a customer (10%) and peers (9%). Worth mentioning, 17% cited “other” as the source of their most memorable recognition.” As such, leadership should set the tone for the recognition culture within the organization.

In addition, peer-to-peer recognition needs to be implemented into your programs as it will help you create a more solid culture of recognition. Coworkers recognizing each other for their work can also help motivate and encourage better work to be produced as a whole.

  1. Time

Being recognized a week or a month after an event or project passes doesn’t hold the same value as being recognized immediately for your work. With today’s hustle and bustle of business culture, the later you wait to recognize hard work, the more likely you’ll forget altogether.

If you struggle with immediate recognition, remember that recognition can be very small, but still have a major impact. Whether it’s a quick shout-out in a company meeting or a short email, make sure you’re making the effort to call out the hard work in real time.

4. Specific

Don’t give appreciation just to give appreciation. When you’re recognizing a job well done, it needs to be for a specific reason. Recognition loses all significance when you hand out rewards with no reason attached to them. Employees can easily see right through such gestures which can be damaging to the value they have within the company. This is where personalization can play a role in your recognition awards.

Everyone Gets A Car Is Not Specific Enough


“I said CARD. Like a gift card. Why, what did you think I said?”

  1. Make it unique to your organizational culture

Overall, your recognition program blueprint shouldn’t be something you pull straight from the internet. It needs to be unique to your employees and organizational culture. It will make your employees feel a part of a unified community.

Traveling trophies are a great recognition example that relates back to organizational culture. They can be a special and unconventional object that has meaning within the organization. The Kearns Improvement District in Utah has a traveling Gnome that goes to employees that make an extra effort, go above their duties or for an act of kindness. In addition, there is an accompanying poster that displays employees names of where “Gerome the Gnome” has traveled to recently.

All of the above aspects should be incorporated into your employee recognition program. Work with your employees to implement a recognition program that positively influences your company culture and employee satisfaction. At Awardco, we’re looking to lead the Employee Recognition Industry into the 21st century by breaking away from traditional models of outdated products. Contact us to see how we can increase employee engagement by improving your employee recognition programs and save you money while doing it.  

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