Recognition Programs

Recognition ProgramsOne of the most important aspects of successful retention is an effective employee recognition program. When examining what employees are looking for in terms of benefits and pay, organizations often overlook employee recognition programs, which can be a very low-cost benefit that not only builds positive corporate culture, but also contributes to an overall high morale.

By using positive reinforcement, desirable employee behaviors will be fostered and repeated. Employees want to know they are valuable, and you can show them how much you appreciate them by implementing a recognition program. There are several popular models, including:

  • Length of Service or Tenure Awards
  • One-Time Achievement Awards, such as on-the-spot gift cards or other small gifts
  • Bonuses
  • Employee-of-the-Month

Is your organization a great place to work? Companies that frequently recognize, validate, and value outstanding work (not only by commending employees on their job performance, but also by giving them monetary rewards or other incentives) are typically recognized by employees and prospective employees as desirable places to work. This is beneficial not only for retention purposes, but also for an employer’s bottom line. Happy employees are highly efficient and are more likely to perform at their peak capacity.

Organizations are increasingly competing for top talent. During the recession, a trend among organizations was to “do more with less”. Now that market conditions are improving, employees are likely to evaluate whether they are happy in their roles and in their organization overall. An effective recognition program provides a valuable resource for employers who must utilize every available means to attract and retain the best employees and to keep them engaged and productive. In addition, awards and incentives can help keep employees motivated and help reinforce company goals during times when workloads are greater than usual, or, for example, when budgets allow for only minimal wage increases.

Creating a collaborative work environment with strong, supportive relationships between managers and co-workers is critical to the success of every business. A positive employee reward and recognition strategy essentially reflects the philosophy that a sincere “thank you” or “well done” goes a great length in ensuring an employer’s top talent feels appreciated, motivated, and most importantly, committed to the organization’s goals and success.

Companies that frequently recognize, validate, and value outstanding work…are typically recognized by employees and prospective employees as desirable places to work.


When developing a recognition program, we recommend providing a concise, written policy describing the parameters of the program, such as the terms and eligibility requirements, the types of rewards attainable in the program, and the timing of the program. Recognition programs are most successful when they align with the organization’s overall mission and values.

Employers should establish a comparable reward or bonus criteria for each department or job group. For example, the Sales Department and the Customer Service Department may have different bonus percentages and criteria in place; however, each employee in these departments should be measured against equitable standards with regard to eligibility for a bonus or recognition.


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