Six Steps to Implementing Employee Recognition

Congratulations! You’re ready to implement a recognition program. An employee recognition program is a fantastic tool for boosting morale, showing appreciation, and improving employee retention. Those are to name a few of the benefits you’ll see once your recognition program is in full swing.

Recognizing employees for their work and contributions to the workplace goes a long way. Being consistent when you give recognition can make employees feel like a connected part of the company. Whether you choose to recognize employees daily, quarterly, yearly, or any time in between, having a thoughtful recognition program is guaranteed to make employees feel great about the work they do.

Here are a few steps to getting started with your company’s employee recognition program.


1. Benchmarking

What initiatives are you already taking to improve morale, retention, engagement, and performance? How have employees responded to the tactics currently in place? Take some time to evaluate where your company already stands when it comes to existing initiatives. Benchmark as many quantitative numbers as possible so that you can track improvement.


2. Set Goals

Now that you know where the company already stands, it’s time to set goals for where you’d like the company to be over a set amount of time. Think about your company’s purpose, mission, and values. Set goals that correlate with improving these factors. Your business goals can be related to performance, financials, service, or employee satisfaction. Some examples of employee recognition goals include:

  • Improved morale
  • Reduced turnover
  • Increased engagement
  • Successful sales closure rates
  • Improved productivity




3. Create a Budget and Determine Eligibility for Rewards

Did you know a majority of employers spend about 3 percent of their payroll budget on employee recognition? Determine how much you can afford to spend on an employee recognition program. Some programs operate on a fixed budget that allocates a specific dollar amount for the overall yearly spend on rewards. There are also programs that use an open budget that allows employees to choose from a limitless selection of incentives.

Once you know your budget, decide how often you will give awards and who is eligible to receive them. A points-based system allows managers and supervisors to award redeemable points for positive behaviors. Employees earn points for set behaviors, goal completions, and contributions.


4. Choose the Rewards

Now that you have a budget and recognition criteria in place, it’s time to choose what kind of rewards your employees can earn. Keep in mind that frequently and consistently recognizing employees in different ways is the best solution for keeping them engaged and motivated every day. Make use of the following types of rewards throughout the year as a way to inspire your employees to greatness.

Incentives: Typically, employees earn incentive rewards through a points-based system. Employees earn points by demonstrating a core value or reaching a specific goal. Employees can redeem points for merchandise, gift cards, event and travel tickets, and more.

On-the-Spot: When used every day, on-the-spot recognition can boost spirits and show employees how much they mean to the company. On-the-spot recognition can come in the form of thank you notes, eCards, message board, and social post announcements, and simple gifts.

Peer-to-Peer: Encourage employees to build relationships by offering them the opportunity to recognize each other. Peer-to-peer recognition is a great way to build respect, teamwork, and comradery among employees. Employees can reward each other points, give on-the-spot recognition, or nominate each other for higher recognition and awards.

Service: Your customers aren’t the only ones to respond to loyalty rewards. Employees also want to be recognized for their commitment to your organization. Recognizing career longevity can inspire others to stay with the company. When used along with other types of recognition, they can reduce turnover and maintain employee retention.


5. Launch Your Program

Create an effective program and program launch by working with an employee recognition program provider to design your program. Most programs are designed to be software as a service (SaaS) and offer cloud-based platforms that are accessible from most devices. Programs developed by a service provider offer customizable features and ease-of-use. Having a program that is simple and stress-free to use is crucial to its success. Employees are more likely to use a program that is fun, interactive, and easy.

Be sure to introduce your program weeks before its official launch. Start by training managers and supervisors on the program’s goals, functions, and capabilities. They’ll need all the tools and tips for implementing it as part of their daily routine.

You’ll also want to communicate the program’s launch to your employees. Build anticipation by sending employers teasers and clues about the types of rewards they can earn. On the day of the program’s launch, throw a party to celebrate. Launching the program through a fun event encourages everyone to join in and participate in the fun!




6. Track Success

Routinely assess the goals you set for the program. SaaS programs hosted by employee recognition solution provider’s often include data and reporting modules that show you how employees are using the program and if it is contributing to positive changes in the workplace. Look at the benchmarks you set before launching your program and compare those numbers to the data provided by the program. You may also be able to determine the success of your program through qualitative measures such as employee satisfaction, behavior changes, increased productivity, and job focus.

For programs to be successful, they need to be monitored for effectiveness and altered to stay relevant and engaging. To assess whether or not your employees enjoy using the new recognition program, ask for their feedback. Use their answers to decide if you need to set new or more realistic goals, introduce new challenges and initiatives, or abandon old ideas. Employees should feel like the rewards and incentives are attainable and that the program is being used consistently and fairly throughout the company. Do this regularly to keep your employees enthusiastic about participating in the program.


Creating an employee recognition program is easy when you use the software and tools developed by a recognition solutions provider. When you’re ready to introduce a recognition solution to your team, our experts are available to help you through every step of the implementation process!

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