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Topic: Appreciation

HR Talk

Six things to think about before implementing an employee recognition program

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Dana Rogers

Director, People Systems and Total Rewards

O.C. Tanner Company
31 years in HR
17 years at O.C. Tanner

From one HR leader to another: I know how tricky it can be to implement new employee programs, especially in this rapidly evolving workplace. While something like employee recognition seems like a simple enough initiative, there are important nuances to keep in mind. Recognition can be a powerful force in improving workplace culture so employees thrive at work and want to stay, but if your recognition program misses the mark, you may miss out on cultural impact as well.

Here are six things you should think about before implementing a new recognition program. Whether you do it yourself, or partner with an experienced provider, how you design, implement, and support your solution will make all the difference.

1: Define the “why” of recognition.

Whether you are trying to convince senior leaders to invest dollars and resources, training managers on the importance of recognition, or getting employee buy-in on a new program, the “why” of recognition is the most important thing to communicate. Why is recognition important, and what impact can it have on your organisation? Think about the goals and dreams you have for your new initiative. Are you trying to improve the daily employee experience? Increase engagement? Be a more attractive place to work? Improve retention? Show employees they are valued? Whatever the reason for recognition, make sure it’s clear, specific, and aligned with your organisation’s purpose. It is essential everyone knows there is a reason to recognise great work beyond the recognition itself.

Why Recognition?

  • 79% of people who quit cite “lack of appreciation” as the reason for leaving.
  • Employees are 5x more likely to stay when regularly acknowledged for good work.
  • Organisations with well-integrated recognition are:
    • 4x more likely to have highly engaged employees
    • 2x more likely to have increased in revenue in the past year
    • 73% less likely to have layoffs
    • 44% less likely to have employees suffering from burnout.
  • Recognition builds connection: it leads to a 20-point increase in sense of purpose, 25x increase in odds of a strong connection to leaders, and a 15x increase in odds of a high connection with team.

Employees who are recognised generate twice as many ideas per month

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