Employee recognition best practices: Part 2

Employee Thank YouIn this second part of our article on employee recognition best practices I outline additional best practices to help you improve your recognition programme.

If you missed part one, you can read it here.


Keep your recognition programme SMART

Jim Brintnall, author of “What Makes a Good Reward?”, states that rewards should be:

  • Sincere – above all else, a good reward should reflect a genuine expression of appreciation. Token acknowledgements leave something to be desired.
  • Meaningful – to ensure a motivating influence, rewards should be aligned with the values, goals, and priorities that matter the most.
  • Adaptable – the diverse workplace demands alternatives. Consider creative options to keep your programme fresh. No single reward format works for everyone all the time.
  • Relevant – some personal dimension is essential to a good reward. No matter how formal or informal, expensive or affordable, the relevance of any recognition will be improved with a personal touch – it’s a little thing that makes a big difference.
  • Timely – it is important that rewards respond to the behaviour they intend to reinforce. Don’t let too much time pass or the reward may be devalued and credibility eroded.


Choose relevant rewards

A critical part of your recognition scheme is the rewards that are offered: they should be meaningful to employees to motivate them. If the rewards aren’t meaningful, then you will be wasting your investment.

Involve your employees in choosing the right rewards; these could be things such as vouchers, experience days, or a certificate. The key thing to remember is that your Generation Y employees will probably be motivated by different rewards to your Baby Boomer employees. Therefore you need to offer a range of rewards and give managers the flexibility to choose the right reward for their employee.

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Market your recognition programme to your employees

Employee recognition is all about motivating your employees but to do so you need to first keep them engaged with your programme through extensive marketing.

Benefits CommunicationCreating an employee recognition brand can enhance the impact of your marketing communications. Work with your marketing department or marketing agency to create a name, logo, colours, fonts and imagery for the programme that tie into your brand and corporate values. A strapline is also important as it gives you the flexibility to speak to several different workforce segments at the same time.

You should also use multi-channel communications wherever possible such as internal email, newsletters, desk drops and internal social media.

Other marketing ideas include:

  • Talking about it in team and company meetings
  • Introduction to the programme as part of induction training
  • Sending fun reminders to all employees to use the programme
  • Send different messaging to different employee segments/groups


Celebrate your employees’ achievements

Perhaps the most important part of your recognition programme is celebrating the accomplishments of those who receive recognition awards and nominations.

Announcements should be made promptly to achieve the most impact and inspire other employees to demonstrate similar behaviours. This means making the announcements as soon as possible after the award and not waiting for the next quarterly newsletter.

Ways you can celebrate your employees’ achievements include:

  • Holding an annual reward ceremony
  • Website and internal social media announcements about winners and nominees
  • Have a ‘Recognition Hall of Fame’ on a prominent wall, such as in reception
[Tweet “Staff recognition should be made promptly to inspire others to demonstrate similar behaviours.”]


Monitor the reward programme

If you want to know if your employee recognition programme is working effectively and delivering results you need to monitor it and measure the results. Measuring the results, allows you to improve the programme and change things that don’t work.

When creating your recognition programme determine the metrics you want to measure and ensure that the recognition platform you are using will give you the reports, analytics and survey results you need in an easy to access and understand format.


Employee recognition programmes benefit not only your employees but your organisation as well. The guidelines provided in part one and two of this series of best practices should enable you to develop a successful recognition programme that will increase employee morale, commitment and loyalty as well as improve productivity and reduce staff attrition.


John Sylvester

John is responsible for the motivation division of p&mm ltd and a Director on the board of the IPM. Specialising in developing, implementing and directing many large scale staff motivation, recognition and employee communications programmes.
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