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Topic: Appreciation

10 employee recognition examples from thriving workplaces

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Check out these employee incentive programs from companies who know how to do recognition right.

The modern world has said goodbye to the days when your profession was dictated by where you were born. But with the increasing opportunities of contemporary life, the number of employees who expect their work to fulfill them is also increasing.

A recent survey shows that a massive 79% of employees are experiencing some level of burnout at work. As a reaction, more and more companies have begun an employee-recognition renaissance to create long-term solutions for appreciating and keeping their people. 

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Let’s take a look at ten companies that raised employee retention rates by breathing new life into their employee recognition programs. Here are the secrets to their success.

1. Tailor a global program to local employees

The Dow Chemical Company is a global organisation whose recognition program had to cross beyond country borders. When their cash-based system wasn’t engaging their colleagues, they looked for a long-term solution to help them develop a company-wide culture of appreciation.

After extensive employee surveys, Dow was better able to understand the specific needs of their people all over the globe. Their new “Accelerate Great” program has more purpose-driven incentives for employees—with each incentive carefully personalised for each region. After just one year of this new system, the number of employees engaged in their formal recognition program increased by 11%.

2. Create a flexible program that grows with your company

Bayer Canada is a highly innovative organisation—so only a highly innovative system would work for them. Their original recognition program was based purely on monetary rewards, but for a company that’s always growing, they needed a more flexible recognition program that could grow with them.

Their You Make Life Better” program was the solution. This adaptable system cultivates a culture designed to evolve as the unique needs of Bayer’s diverse people evolve. Employees are now quickly and effectively rewarded for innovation and great work, resulting in a 92% employee engagement rate.

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3. Base your recognition program around your company values

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts lives by its brand promise: “Turning moments into memories for our guests.” With this value in mind, the core of their recognition program became “You turn moments into memories for our guests, now let us turn moments into memories for you.”

Their goal was to make the employee experience just as amazing as their customer experience. Their new program fosters a culture of celebration where coworkers share stories and give employee-of-the-month awards to colleagues. Fairmont’s new value-based culture has resulted in a 98% score on their employee engagement surveys.

4. Recognise every aspect of your people’s work lives

A career in the healthcare industry can often feel thankless. Norton Healthcare recognised this and began the search for an inventive solution to help their employees feel truly appreciated for everything they do.

They needed a system that would let them recognise every aspect of their people’s work lives. This meant appreciating everything from long-term achievements to smaller, day-to-day contributions. Their “N Recognition of You” program has raised their engagement survey results from the 55th percentile to 83rd in the healthcare market.

5. Center your entire culture around recognition

Companies invest in many things, but most of them forget to invest in their most important resource—their people. That’s where Ohio Living set itself apart by centering their entire workplace culture around recognising and appreciating their employees.

Ohio Living makes their people-oriented culture their number one priority—so much so, that every new employee’s first day is dedicated solely to introducing them to it. Ohio Living recognises that when they put their people first, their people put their patients first. Thanks to their investment in an appreciative workplace, They now have one of the lowest readmission rates in the state.

6. Make every recognition reward personal

If you’ve ever gotten a generic gift on your birthday, you know how demoralising it can feel when someone misses the mark. This is something Roto Rooter realised when they needed to provide rewards and recognition trophies to nearly 3,000 employees spread over several locations.

Every Roto Rooter recognition award is specifically created with their people in mind—ensuring their employee’s good work is repaid with unique gifts that reflect their unique tastes. After their recognition program refresh, 75% of Roto Rooter employees say they love their awards, and over 66% plan to keep and display them.

7. Celebrate every workplace anniversary

Workplace anniversaries can be just as important as personal ones. Yorkshire Building Society (YBS) learned this when they realised only their customer-facing employees were receiving recognition—while people in supportive roles went unappreciated.  

The solution was a recognition program that focuses on something every dedicated employee experiences: workplace anniversaries. Starting their third year, YBS employees receive a personalised Yearbook with notes and photos from both peers and leaders. Within the first six months, over 3,700 comments and 1,100 photos were added to over 600 yearbooks.

8. Offer immediate appreciation with heartfelt words

Research shows a 71% decrease in feelings of appreciation when recognition is not given after employees make an extra effort—and the longer you wait, the less your recognition means. With a mobile workspace where employees work around the clock, Virgin Trains needed a recognition program that could keep up with their high-energy, fast-paced system.

Their revamped recognition program helped them create a consistent, unified culture across their many locations. One of their most effective tools is an ecard system that allows colleagues to give real-time recognition. Leaders and peers can start writing as soon as they notice a colleague’s stellar performance. 

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9. Build a multidirectional appreciation system

As a bank that caters to entrepreneurs, The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) knows a thing or two about innovative ideas. In 2016, they took their old, top-down recognition strategy to new heights by launching a program that centered around peer-to-peer recognition.

When companies encourage peer-to-peer recognition, they experience 2X greater odds of retaining employees. BDC’s new recognition program, “Exclamat!on,” allows their colleagues spread across Canada to recognise and reward each other for great work—in both English and French!

10. Implement a personalised point system

Most modern employees want the office to feel like a second home. Siemens Australia set out to accomplish this through their “Shine” program. They threw out the generic gift cards and impersonal awards for a strategy that shines a light on individual successes.

“Shine” is a recognition program that helps Siemens reach out to their people across multiple locations throughout Australia. It works by letting both coworkers and leaders award Shine points to a colleague who has gone above and beyond. That colleague can then trade their Shine points in for a personal gift of their choosing.

Revolutionise your own recognition program

Now that you’ve seen how these companies have remade their recognition systems, it’s time to revolutionise yours. Use their examples of employee recognition awards, programs, and strategies to inspire your own thriving workplace culture.

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