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Employee Recognition and 6 Powerful Ways To Implement It

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Employee Recognition is acknowledging an individual or team for their hard work, efforts, and accomplishments in the organization.

Employee Recognition is paramount in the workplace. It creates a friendly atmosphere and induces a sense of belongingness and closeness. Altogether it nurtures a supportive work environment.

How important do you think it is to build a workplace recognition culture?

Do you think you need to run the extra mile to make your employees feel appreciated at work?

The answer to this is a whopping YES!

If there is one thing that Business giants agree on, it’s that Staff Recognition is a vital element to drive the financial returns through the roof:


According to Forbes, only 15% of employees worldwide are engaged in their jobs.

When employees are engaged, they are willing to invest their time, talent and energy to add value to their organization. They work harder and feel committed to contribute to the success of the company.

Related article - 7 Effects of Employee Recognition on Business

Naturally, employee disengagement is directly related to loss of productivity.

Disengaged employees cost organizations between $450 and $550 billion annually (The Engagement Institute)

Worldwide, only 13% of employees working for an organization are engaged.

16% of employees said they felt “connected and engaged” by employers. (EmployeeChannel)

Millennials and Employee Recognition

With the arrival of millennials, employee recognition has become more critical than ever.

By 2020, more than 50% of the employees in the workforce will be millennials.

They are creative, technologically advanced, multi-taskers, and critical thinkers. They do not mind long working hours and are always seeking new challenges.

Millennials want to get their jobs done efficiently but also quickly.

They want to have immediate results of their good work and hence instant recognition for the job!

Organizations must comprehend the drivers on which millennials are aligned. The employee-employer relationship must go beyond the conventional once-in-a-blue-moon work review.


Rewards and Recognition Induce Motivation

Employee Motivation is a fundamental element to take your company to the top. Timely rewards and recognition are proven drivers of motivation among employees.

Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it. ~Dwight D. Eisenhower

We can split Workplace Motivation into Intrinsic Motivation and *Extrinsic Motivation.

Intrinsic Motivation:

It is the motivation that comes in the employees for their true love and passion for the work they do.

It comes when their work provides them satisfaction. Employees want to achieve goals and develop professionally.

Extrinsic Motivation:

Extrinsic Motivation is solely for money and other benefits.

One can derive extrinsic motivation from factors like pay, promotion, and other programs designed to appeal to them.

To get your organization to the top, you need to ensure positive work motivation.

People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily. ~Zig Ziglar

A combination of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is the perfect combination for any workplace.

Inducing motivation can be tricky and time-consuming, but it is undeniably beneficial to your organization.

Framework for a Rewards & Recognition Program

1. Well defined criteria

Before coming up with a program, the management should indulge in rigorous brainstorming sessions.

You should consider all the factors that can help the overall growth of the employees.

They should also give detailed guidelines for their criteria to the employees. And keep updating their categories according to growing trends. There should be distinct recognition for individual and team efforts.

2. Fairness

The program should be at all times fair to the employees.

Clarity and transparency are vital in the Rewards and Recognition Program.

If more than one individual succeeds in fulfilling the predefined norms, you should ensure that none is missing out from gaining the Reward/ Recognition.

3. Variety

As an employer, you should acknowledge the different traits of your employees. There should be a range of categories from which employees can earn recognition, such as camaraderie, sportsmanship, work ethics, etc.

The categories shouldn’t be too predictable for the employees.

It will not only motivate the employees but at the same time will help the organization in excelling over a range of areas and expertise.

4. Timeliness

Employee recognition should be a timely affair. It should always maintain its consistency.

There is a close link between employee recognition and the reason for which they are being recognized.

Employee Recognition like any other form of motivation is short-lived. People do forget about it in due course of time.

Here are the 6 powerful ways to establish Employee Recognition

Perks and Rewards

It is not something new or unheard of, but offering perks and rewards still is the best way to instill recognition among employees.

Everybody loves a little extra! There is probably no greater joy for an employee than receiving a little extra than promised.

Traditional employee benefits like Paid holidays, Salary Hike, Maternity Paternity, Adoption Leave, Retirement Benefits, etc. are no longer considered rewards.

According to Glassdoor, more than half (57%) of all workers say perks and benefits are among the top things they consider when accepting a job. Also, almost 80% of employees say they would prefer new benefits – over a pay raise.

Employees love it when you provide them with a plethora of benefits and perks.

Places that offer various unique, out-of-the-box corporate perks and employee benefits get better ratings at “Best places to work at” over multiple sites.

For example, according to an article in Scoopwoop, HCL is one of the top 15 companies in India, and here is why:

At HCL, employee satisfaction holds as much importance as customer satisfaction. The company maintains this balance through their ‘Employee First’ program. The prime focus is on anything that the employee needs. Support, Knowledge, Recognition, Empowerment, and Transformation are five essential things that they take care of during the program.

Employers can reward their employees with gift cards & vouchers on special occasions, festivals, bonuses, etc.

Also, they can provide them with an employee benefits platform where employees can get access to exclusive employee discounts in small to big purchases.

To make things simple for you, here's a list of rewards and recognition ideas you can give to your employees.

2. Employee Appreciation:

Being thankful and expressing your appreciation is important.

But how often are you doing it?

For example:

  • A small token of appreciation like a “Well done”, “Thank you”, “Congratulations” note now and then.
  • A shout-out at the end of a tiring workday.
  • A special mention at a gathering or a meeting.
  • Or the good-old employee of the month ritual.*

Related article: 50 Best Words of Appreciation for Employees You Can't Ignore


Picture courtesy: Employee appreciation post via Vantage Circle's Employee Rewards and Recognition Platform

You can also create your employee award certificates and cheer them for the good work.

These small but thoughtful actions can go a long way in an organization.

After all, in this highly competitive atmosphere, everybody craves some appreciation.

Appreciation doesn’t necessarily always mean praising. More than praising, employees want to feel respected in the organization.

When employees are treated with respect, they too do the same in return. Organizations should treat employees as valuable assets to the company who are capable of making intelligent choices. Also, for this reason the first Friday of March is celebrated as Employee Appreciation Day every year.

3. Customized and Personalized Rewards and Recognition

Gone are when employers could implement a “one size fits all” formula for all their employees.

To gain employee satisfaction, they have to acknowledge that different employees have different needs.

For example, some might want to use their reward for personal fulfillment like buying new gadgets, whereas someone else might want to use their reward for the love of what they do, like traveling.

Giving away a turkey on holiday to all the employees might have worked in the past, but it definitely won’t work anymore.

Employees feel valued when they receive custom benefits that are tailor-made for them.

The easiest way to do that would be to provide them with a platform to get an array of benefit choices to choose from.

This would ensure easy administration and the increasing popularity of the company.

4. Social Recognition

According to the eBook, The Case for Employee Recognition, 71% of employees rank employee engagement as very important to achieving overall organizational success.

72% rank recognition given for high performers has a significant impact on employee engagement.

Social Recognition is the best way in which employees can flaunt and exhibit their hard-earned appreciation.

Annual, monthly, and weekly awards are a significant driving force in increasing performance levels in workplaces.

Social media recognition is probably the most effective way of Social Recognition to motivate the workforce today.

The millennials are digital natives, they’ve grown up in an era of digital and social media interactions, and it has become a part of their lives.

Getting recognized in social media will give them a larger platform to boast about their hard-earned achievements.

Employers of big companies can even try to provide the employees with a cloud-based social recognition platform to share their accomplishments. This will ensure interconnectivity, acquaintanceship, and healthy competition among employees.

Related article: Top Employee Recognition Quotes To Celebrate Their Endeavours

5. Building positive morale in the workplace

Wikipedia defines employee morale as job satisfaction, outlook, and well-being an employee has within a workplace setting.

Building positive morale in the workplace is not just another way to establish Employee Recognition, but it is, in fact, de rigueur.

When the morale of a workplace goes down, it directly jeopardizes the business.

Low morale is often characterized by an array of negative attitudes towards work, such as lack of interest, pessimism, apathy, etc.

The employer and the management should constantly work on identifying and eliminating the factors leading to low morale.

The first step in doing so is effective communication.

James Humes rightly said,“The art of communication is the language of leadership.”

The best way to value your employees is to listen to them.

They feel motivated to be a part of the decision-making process of defining the company culture. Nurture a culture where employees shouldn’t hesitate to talk or give their opinions.

Secondly, Employees should have a healthy work-life balance.

It is your job to make sure your employees aren’t feeling overburdened with work.

Freedom in the workplace and flexible work timing is very important to keep the employees engaged at work.

For example, it can be a good idea to grant employees some time off to pursue something they are passionate about.

Employees should enjoy working in the organization, and the workplace must have some elements of fun.

Employers should appreciate employees for their exceptional conduct and behavior in the workplace.

You can also provide training to develop a positive work attitude among employees.

6. Non-professional Benefits

All work and no play might not make the employees dull, but it does make the workplace monotonous and unexciting.

Non-professional benefits for employees can be many.

It can be organizing events where the employees can showcase their hobbies and interests. Conducting activities promote the physical and emotional well-being of the employees.

Sometimes it can also encourage employees to take up a task or learn a skill that will be beneficial in the long run.

Take a look at these amazing non-professional benefits and activities for employees:

  • REI encourages its employees to get outside by offering two paid days off each year, called “Yay Days,” to enjoy their favorite outside activity.

  • Salesforce employees receive six days of paid volunteer time off a year, as well as $1,000 a year to donate to a charity of their choice.

  • Airbnb, the Best Place to Work in 2016, gives its employees an annual stipend of $2,000 to travel and stay in an Airbnb listing anywhere in the world.

  • Burton employees receive season ski passes and “snow days” to hit the slopes after a big snowfall.


Employee Recognition is the key to making your organization come to life.

Employee Recognition is no longer an option but a must-have in your organization.

It goes far beyond the conventional ways like Employee of the month, and it requires mindful planning and execution.

75% of the causes of employee turnover are preventable.
~(Source: HR Dive)

Although keeping your employees satisfied is not entirely in your hands, giving them the proper recognition at the right time is still is. Good employee recognition programs can help a company in many ways. It is a proven way to encourage employees to work harder and drive employee engagement.

Implementing these 6 proven and powerful steps in your organization will surely help you get started on this journey of creating an employee-oriented recognition platform and help you prevent scary surprises!

This article is written by Darshana Dutta. She works as a Content Creator and Digital Marketer at Vantage Circle. She writes extensively on trends around employee engagement and transforming company culture. For any related queries, contact editor@vantagecircle.com

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