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Employee Motivation

Employee Recognition Programs: Some basic guidelines

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“Employee Recognition” was once a gesture of nicety and gratitude from an organization to its employees. It is now a necessity, a bargaining point for companies which enables them to lure the best brains aboard. The competition today is very fierce – there is no dearth of qualified personnel nor is there a dearth of opportunities. The main criteria of choice are not merely the salary or the reputation of a company anymore. Take a look at why employee recognition is necessary:
  • Motivates employees to give their best and more

  • Increases overall employee productivity

  • Encourages a sense of healthy competition

  • Employees gain respect and recognition

  • Provides job satisfaction to employees

  • Improves employee loyalty

  • Reduces employee turnover

So what is the ideal employee recognition program (ERP)? Such programs have evolved throughout time and there isn’t one way of doing it. Yet, there are some tried-and-tested ways which have proved to be effective in formulating some good employee recognition programs. A few of them are listed below which are often customized to suit a company’s requirements.
Basic guidelines to an effective ERP
  • An initial survey may be conducted to understand the parameters the employees wish to be rewarded for. They may also be asked their preference of reward – cash reward, increase in number of days off, certificates and/or mementos, tickets, etc are popular methods of rewards.

  • The program should have an impressive name, something that urges participation and motivates them to win. There is a reason why “Employee of the Year” has become a popular phrase in corporate circles.

  • The program should be well-defined. What is being awarded? Who is eligible to participate? What are the different stages? What is the time frame? What are people competing for? Is it for individuals or teams? What are the dos and don’ts? Is the reward in cash or kind? The program should be designed effectively to eliminate confusion.

  • The selection method should be kept transparent and employees should be informed and explained about the criteria for selection/ elimination.

  • ERP’s should be well marketed depending on how important it is. Daily/ weekly rewards can be limited to inter-office newsletters, bulletin board, etc. But more prestigious categories like a major target achievement, an annual award, a unique achievement or record created, any effort from an employee that helped the organization in a major manner, etc need to be mentioned and marketed on a larger scale such as through the main website, the company’s social media pages and blogs, etc.

  • The marketing campaign can be in three stages:

    • Before the program starts – to increase participation

    • During the program – to keep the employees updated about their progress

    • After the program – the winners need to be recognized aptly through by the company by publishing their name along with their photo.

These are just a few of the commonly practised methods of ERPs. Companies sometimes give spontaneous and spot awards for anything they see fit – a random act of brilliance, a voluntary act done by an employee which benefits the company or its employees, for an unprecedented event that was handled brilliantly with no support or training, for improvement among the low performers, and many more such incidents which help in boosting the morale of employees and always encourage to deliver more than what is expected from them. The aim of ERPs are just that – getting the employees to perform optimally while creating a work environment that is productive, fun and nurtured a good relationship between employees and the organization.

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