How to design a custom, useful, and effective Employee Recognition Program

Employee recognition is one of the most basic, simple and effective resources that team leaders have to motivate their teams. Recognition not only fosters higher performance, it is also one of the best tools to promote employee satisfaction, commitment and loyalty. 

Precisely, voluntary turnover is one of the biggest challenges that People managers face today. According to a LinkedIn study, the average time a person spends in the same company is 4 years. 

But why do people leave their jobs? Surely, the first thing you think is that professionals go from company to company in search of better economic conditions. 

But, the data tells us otherwise: a Cornerstone onDemand  report points out that 33% of people between the ages of 23 and 38 plan to leave their jobs in the next 6 months because their companies do not offer them recognition. 

So, if you are looking to boost the performance of your teams while ensuring their loyalty keep reading because we gonna tell you how to apply and manage an employee recognition program tailored to each employee. 

What is employee recognition? 

Employee recognition is the act of valuing and appreciating the contributions and achievements of people in your workplace. It is a process by which employees are given positive feedback on their performance, and are congratulated for a job well done with the aim that they maintain that same attitude all the time they spend in the company. 

With this, we achieve that the teams are motivated, we boost their satisfaction, and we encourage commitment and loyalty. 

When putting it into practice, employee recognition can take many forms. Among the most popular are: 

  • Verbal Praise: the simplest yet most powerful form of recognition. The simple fact of congratulating a person for their contributions, whether in public or private, encourages employees to continue maintaining the behavior desired by the company. 
  • Awards and formal recognitions: diplomas, gifts, bonuses or discounts on services that are given to workers for special achievements and going beyond expectations. 
  • Development Opportunities: providing training and development opportunities can be a form of recognition by showing that the company cares about growing its employees and moving them to the next level in their careers. 
  • Labor flexibility: days off, more vacations or remote work are ways to take care of the well-being of employees, which is an excellent sign of recognition of their value and how important they are to the development of the company. 

What are the advantages of recognizing employees? 

Employee recognition is essential in any people management strategy. Although, to make it works the praise must be natural, genuine, honest and most importantly, specific and at the right time. 

Thus, if done well, companies can benefit from great advantages: 

Increased talent engagement 

If you don’t recognize your employees, they feel invisible and frustrated. A belief that will make them look for other places where they are respected as professionals and their contributions are valued. 

And, as an example, we leave you with the conclusions obtained in this study by Deloitte: companies that have a well-defined recognition program have a voluntary turnover rate that is 31% lower than those that do not value their employees. 

Maximized productivity 

A Glassdoor survey revealed that for 81% of employees , the praises given from their manager are a powerful motivator, encouraging them to try harder on every project they are assigned. 

And it is not surprising, because when we hear good things about ourselves, we activate the “Cocktail of Happiness”: A hormonal explosion of serotonin, endorphin, dopamine and oxytocin that gives us pleasure and well-being. And, most importantly: it is addictive. 

So, when you recognize the achievements of your employees at the right time, you are ensuring that the same behavior is repeated in the future, improving performance and productivity. 

Improved work environment 

When people are undervalued and feel that no matter how hard they try, their work will not be noticed by anyone, they are invaded by a feeling of failure and frustration that, on occasions, can even trigger other problems such as Impostor Syndrome. 

A company with a toxic environment is not sustainable over time: appears friction, unhealthy competition, and employees end up going their own way, without exercising as a team to achieve common goals. 

Promoting a culture of employee recognition improves the work environment, creating competitive and healthy teams that collaborate with each other to achieve any goal. 

Attract the most TOP talent 

Related to the above, did you know that for 46% of candidates, corporate culture is a decisive factor when choosing an employer? 

When people look for a job, what they want is to find a place where they can feel fulfilled. And this fact goes hand in hand with recognizing the contributions and achievements of professionals every time they reach a new milestone. 

How to implement an employee recognition program that works  

Below, we share with you some tips to carry out an effective employee recognition strategy: 

1. Make an evaluation of the work environment 

The first step is to get to know your employees. Not all companies are the same, and not all people have the same needs. Knowing your collaborators will allow you to design a recognition plan adapted to the circumstances of your organization, knowing exactly what the people who work with you value the most. 

Using specific software such as Team Insights will provide you with the data you need to start designing your strategy in an agile and efficient way. 

2. Design a recognition plan based on performance 

Human Resources can provide you with performance data for each team. This, together with the information obtained from the previous step, allows you to create an employee recognition program suited to the efforts of each person. 

Consider that the same type of recognition may not work for different types of people. For example, high performers will prefer growth opportunities and manageable challenges that encourage them to think outside the box and not get bored. In other words, they need rewards that require greater responsibility. 

On the other hand, people with a lower profile tend to prefer economic and material rewards that are a reflection of their invested efforts. 

3. Follow up and update 

The work does not end once the program is implemented. You will need to monitor the results and see how the organization develops. After a while, you can resubmit the work environment questionnaire you sent at the beginning and see if the results have improved or, on the contrary, you need to make adjustments. 

And remember, employee recognition is a practice that should be part of the business culture. It must be aligned with its values and be done continuously. 

Want to know what other ways Team Insights can help your organization? Then sign up now and start using it. It’s free! 

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