Employee recognition programs can be a great way to boost worker productivity and make a company more successful. However, it is essential to remember that a program such as this must be executed correctly, or it can come across as condescending or even insulting. The last thing you want is for your employee recognition program to become a joke at the workplace. Let’s look at the steps you need to take to create an employee recognition program that will get results for your business.
Identify Your Goals
At its core, an employee recognition program is a behavior modification tool. In other words, your program should serve as motivation to get your employees to display the behavior that you want them to. When viewed in this light, an employee recognition program should be built with the intention of promoting the desired behavior rather than just chasing vague goals such as “improving worker productivity.”
Here are a few specific goals you can use this type of program to pursue:
- Getting workers to work longer hours
- Getting workers to produce specific results
- Getting workers to meet specific quotas
- Getting workers to obey certain rules
- Getting workers to communicate better amongst themselves
- Getting workers to communicate better with management
Once you have an idea of the behavior, you want to encourage, use it as a major deciding factor in your employee rewards program. Also, you need to make sure that your workers understand this as well, or they may not catch on to what types of behavior are being rewarded.
Choosing Appropriate Rewards
Once you’ve decided the specific criteria that workers need to meet in order to be eligible for the recognition program, you then need to decide how you want to reward them. Once again, keep in mind that the reward should be something desirable, not condescending. For example, a restaurant offering a free meal for the worker’s entire family (within reason) would be more appealing than just giving them a hat with the company’s logo on it. With this in mind, let’s look at a few examples of rewards you can offer your employees.
Trophies and Plaques
Trophies and employee of the month plaques are a great way to recognize workers who have met your criteria. Even better is the fact that they are extremely cheap to produce in many cases, making them a very cost-effective method of motivating workers.
Sometimes you’ll want a little more to motivate your workers, and offering them freebies can be a good option. Depending on how wide your profit margins are, gift certificates, vouchers, or pre-determined free items can be another cost-effective way to reward your workers.
Offering your workers branded merchandise as a reward, such as hats, tote bags, pens, and more, can be a great way to both reward them and do a little marketing in the process. Just keep in mind that this may seem “cheap” in the eyes of many workers if this is the only reward they get, so pairing this with other rewards can work better in many cases.
Extra Vacation Time
A reward of this magnitude can be a huge motivator but will typically only be reserved for special occasions such as an employee of the year program. When offering this kind of reward, you need to carefully run the numbers to make sure that the impact on your business isn’t outweighing the increase in productivity among your workers. That said, most workers in the US can’t afford to take vacation time anyway, so keep that in mind as well.
Presenting Your Program
The final step is to present your employee recognition program to your workers. Since the goal is to motivate them, it should be presented as a big deal, not an afterthought. Yes, many workers may give up right away because either they aren’t interested in the rewards or they feel as if they have no chance, but you should do your best to mitigate this type of apathy.
To overcome this problem, make every worker feel like they have a shot and make your rewards appealing enough that all of your workers would appreciate them. If you can do this, the increase in productivity will greatly outweigh the expenses needed to produce the program’s rewards.