team of people putting their hands together

Employee Recognition Program Guide

The Ultimate Employee Recognition Playbook

Learn to assemble your team of champions, increase engagement, and measure the results

Why is having an Employee Recognition Program is Important?

Employees clapping for a female colleague

Having an employee recognition program is a great way to inspire performance, increase productivity and build an amazing company culture. Not only does employee recognition keep your current employees engaged, but it also helps you attract the best candidates and retain your top talent.

5 steps to building an impactful employee recognition program

1 Make the Case for Employee Recognition

You know why it is important to create an impactful culture of recognition at your company, but it's time to convince your executive team that investing in a culture of recognition can lead to significant company-wide growth.

Communicate how much you plan to invest in employee recognition and the projected return on investment. What is the estimated reduction in turnover? How much will productivity increase? Addressing these questions will help you convince the decision makers.

Access our ROI Calculator to help build your case for an employee recognition program.

2 Build a Team of Champions

You can't do this alone! You will need support from all levels of the organization to roll out a successful employee recognition program. Make a list of the key stakeholders in your company and how the program will affect them:

  • Leader: oversee program and results
  • Admin: operate the program
  • Manager: access to budget for sending rewards
  • Employee: receive rewards and nominate colleagues for rewards
  • Finance: manage financial reports (eg: expenses, taxable benefits)

You'll then want to reach out to a few people from each group to show them the benefits of the employee rewards and recognition program, learn about their concerns, and garner their support.

3 Structure Your Employee Recognition Program around 5 Key Principles

5 circles, each with an attribute: simple, instant, flexible, inclusive, consistent

Make it easy, so your employees are more inclined to participate and don't feel burdened by the program.

Don't wait for performance reviews that are months away. Reinforce desired behaviours as soon as they happen, and reward results in real-time.

Every employee has different preferences. Offer rewards that are flexible so everyone gets something they want and value.

Give every employee the opportunity to participate in recognition. If some people feel left out, the employee recognition program can actually have a negative effect. If you're offering an online program, make sure there are offline options available.

Ad hoc programs don't work! Make sure your employees understand that the program is not a fad. Create a consistent employee reward and recognition program with longevity to ensure your employees will continue participating.

4 Tie Recognition to Core Values

The company's core values provide a guideline for making decisions and identify the behaviours that drive success for the organization. By recognizing employees that demonstrate core values, they will be much more likely to repeat those behaviours.

As such, it can be very effective to set the company's core values as the possible reasons for recognition. This way, your managers and employees know WHY to formerly recognize team members and colleagues.

Recognition data can then come in very handy during performance reviews, as it will identify which core values employees are demonstrating and where they could focus on improving.

5 Communicate with all Stakeholders

To make your employee recognition program a success, it's critical to have a successful launch. Make sure all stakeholders are aware of the program, its objectives, what is expected of them, and why their participation will be beneficial for them. Your program will not achieve the desired results if your employees are unsure how to participate.

Anticipate objections from each stakeholder (other leaders, managers, financial team etc.). Everyone will have different concerns about the employee recognition program, so be sure you have a solid response to each objection, and lean on your Team of Champions to communicate benefits.

employees cathering around a white board

6 Measure the Results

Finally, your employee rewards and recognition program must be measurable. To understand the effects of your program, you need a way to measure two main areas:

  • Key Performance Indicators (KPI)
  • Behaviour

You can measure KPIs like improvements in turnover rates, conversion rates (marketing), close rates (sales), productivity (e.g. rooms cleaned per hour), etc.

Behaviour is harder to measure but can be done through employee surveys and pulling data from the actual employee recognition program (how many nominations are being sent? What are the most common reasons for nominations? etc.).

Before launching, make sure you have a plan on how to measure the effectiveness of your program, then tweak things over time to see what works best for your team.

Get Started and Scale-Up

Making sure employees feel recognized for their efforts can increase employee engagement, productivity and retention. Still, only 14% of companies give managers the tools they need to reward their team members in a timely manner. Use the steps above to rollout an employee recognition program to set your company apart.

That said, you don't have to do everything at once. Too often we've seen companies paralyzed by endless strategy meetings that never actually do anything. Start by piloting a simple employee recognition program with a small group or department, then roll it out to the whole company once it's proven and working well. After a few months, try adding new components to the program. This is Agile HR!

If you're still looking for a bit of help with your program, feel free to reach out to our team anytime, recognition is what we do! Or watch our video guide below that walks through building a culture of recognition.

Take the Next Steps...

The task of building a culture of recognition at your company can feel overwhelming. Maybe you have tried following the above steps and are starting to see some improvement in your company, but you are looking for your results to skyrocket to the next level.

Guusto is here to help implement all the key steps and set your program into motion with our simple, automated employee recognition platform that can be setup in seconds and is completely FREE to use.