12 Employee Recognition Program Ideas for the New Year

Employees want to feel that their work is valued. They want to know that what they do is important. Therefore, rewards and recognition programs are taking on greater importance in organizations.

Employees want to feel that their work is valued Click To Tweet

When an organization has a well-designed recognition program, employees develop an emotional connection to the company, employee engagement increases, and turnover decreases. A well-designed program is consistent, fair, thoughtful, and genuine in its praise.

SEE ALSO: 5 Key Benefits of Real-Time Performance Feedback

12 Ideas for an Effective Recognition Program

Make It Part of Your Culture

  1. Peer-to-peer recognition book. Create a book where employees write down good things they see their peers doing. Call it something creative like “Top Notch,” “A Game,” “Gotcha Doin’ Good,” etc. Read the entries at the weekly staff meeting.
  2. Create a “Celebrating Excellence,” or CE certificate, program. Employees can nominate their peers to receive a CE certificate for going the extra mile.
  3. Share employee recognition on social media.

  4. Share employee recognition on social media, such as Facebook or Twitter. Also, use the front page of the company website to recognize employees. Include a short biography or success story with a photo.
  5. Catch individuals in the moment and celebrate with tangible signifiers such as ringing a bell or adding a block to a tower. Comment positively when you see an employee going above and beyond. Celebrate small achievements along the way. For example, when an employee achieves a metric for a goal, celebrate that achievement. Don’t wait until the entire goal is achieved.

Structure It

  1. Develop a toolkit for managers to use for recognizing effort. The toolkit would have awards and certificates to use. This would standardize what awards are given, which would ensure fairness.
  2. Be creative with the employee of the month Click To Tweet
  3. Connect the reward to the company’s mission and culture. For example, if your company values wellness, the reward could be a membership to a gym, a cooking class, or time off for a workout.
  4. Be creative with the employee of the month. Form the pictures or plaques in the shape of a giant company logo, a tree, a yellow brick road, etc.

Make It Personal

  1. Send out a survey to uncover two things: what kind of recognition employees like, and what they want to be recognized for. This empowers the employees by allowing them to help develop an employee reward program that is meaningful to them.
  2. Connect rewards to your company’s mission and culture.

  3. Make the reward personal. For example, the reward could be allowing the employee two hours a week to work on a project they are passionate about. The project can be personal and unrelated to work.

Play at Work

  1. People love games and there are many online options for games. Gamify your recognition program by awarding badges that allow employees to move to the next level. Or award badges that can be cashed in for prizes or gift cards. Open the program up to colleagues as well as managers.
  2. Set up a Friday ‘Funday’ call that is only for recognition. Team members can recognize someone for their efforts over the past week. Keep the call focused on the positive things happening in the company, or on the team. You can also include a “gratitude moment” and have team members share something they are grateful for. Focusing on the positive builds morale.
  3. Focusing on the positive builds morale.

  4. Incorporate random acts of fun. This could be as simple as bringing in ice cream or going on an impromptu outing to the local coffee shop. Employees will appreciate the spontaneity and heartfelt gesture of thanks.