Why and How to
Recognise at Work
A 10 step guide for building the best
employee recognition and reward program
Why recognise at work?
Gone are the days where managers should rely on salaries alone
to motivate employees to do an excellent job. People need more
than a pay cheque to keep them engaged in their work. If you
want committed and connected employees who go above and
beyond to get the job done, then it’s time to get strategic about
what you’re doing to engage them.
Implementing a recognition program is one of the most
effective ways to increase employee engagement. When it is
done strategically – in alignment with organisational goals and
designed with measurable targets – employee recognition can
boost motivation and productivity, lower unwanted attrition,
and help you build a more connected Grow and profits aligned workplace
culture. In fact, research shows that companies with a more
mature approach to employee recognition are 12 times more
likely to have strong business results. 1
Creating a competitive edge
Research has shown, time and time again, that the more
engaged your employees are, the better off your business will
be. Workplaces with a highly engaged workforce grew profits up
to three times faster than their competitors. 2 That’s because,
compared to disengaged employees, engaged employees:
are 21% more productive;
score 10% higher in customer service metrics;
have 37% lower absenteeism; and
have, on average, 45% less turnover.
What does engagement have to do with recognition?
“Recognition is the number one most impactful driver of
engagement,” says Kevin Sheridan, author of Building a Magnetic
Culture. 3 And, 67% of Best-In-Class organisations have a formal
recognition program in place. 4
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Foster the right type of engagement
Employees that are engaged on a transactional level plod
along in their job, and give little discretionary effort. Studies
show transactionally engaged employees can actually do more
damage than good because they drag down morale, and reflect
higher levels of personal stress. 5 On the other hand, employees
engaged on an emotional level get more job satisfaction and,
because they are more connected to their co-workers and
company values, have a vested interest in seeing the company
succeed. 6 They do more than what’s expected and bring a positive
energy into the workplace. Guess what type of engagement
strategic recognition builds? That’s right, recognition builds
more emotionally engaged employees who are empowered
to do their best work.
more strongly with
values of their
The Science of Happiness (2014) Globoforce
more likely to
company to a
more of their
It is estimated that disengaged employees cost the Australian
economy $305 billion each year thanks to lost productivity -
that’s an average of $26,300 per worker. 7 Can an employee
recognition program help you recover some of those costs? Yes,
according to 78% of employees who reported they would work
harder if they were better recognised and appreciated, 8 and
the 67% of employees who stated praise and commendation
from managers was the top motivator for performance, beating
out both noncash and financial incentives. 9
Over two thirds of employees say
recognition from managers is better
at driving performance than money.
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Decrease turnover costs
A company with 500 employees with an 11 per cent turnover rate
loses $3 million annually. 10 This figure doesn’t account for the risk
associated with losing their knowledge of the company, and the
loss of productivity of the peers they leave behind. Companies
with strategic recognition report a turnover rate that’s 23.5%
lower than companies without a recognition program. 11
Frequent, peer-to-peer recognition helps build connections
between the people in your business and affirms individuals that
they are valued, giving them more reason to stay.
Companies who focus
on the meaning and
purpose of their work
drop in absenteesim,
reduction in turnover.
The Science of Happiness
RedBalloon’s Employee Engagement Survey, shows engaged
employees bring in 50% higher sales. 12 These results are in
line with researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, who did
a study with two groups of university fundraisers. One group
made phone calls to solicit alumni donations, while the second
group received a motivating talk from the director of annual
giving, who told them she was grateful for their efforts. The
employees who heard her message of gratitude made 50%
more fundraising calls than those who did not. 13
Improve customer service
41% of companies using some sort of peer-to-peer recognition
have seen a marked positive increase in customer satisfaction. 14
A positive employee experience translates into a positive
customer experience, since we reflect the mood of our current
environment. Frequent recognition of the values and behaviours
you want your employees to demonstrate towards customers
helps you set a standard of service, because what gets
recognised gets repeated.
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10 steps to building the
best recognition program
When done well, employee recognition can deliver all sorts of commercial and
cultural benefits for organisations. Here are ten ingredients for our recipe for success.
Build a brilliant business case
Identify the area(s) of your business you need to improve. This might be attrition or
retention rates, sales or customer service metrics or your employer net promoter
score (ENPS). Calculate what this is costing your business and develop a case that
explains what you could save or improve with a more engaged workforce.
Get yourself at least one executive sponsor
Ideally your sponsor will be the CEO or someone on the executive level team who is
willing to work with the team advocating this program (be it HR or communications).
Your sponsor needs to be someone who will champion the project and has the
respect of operational leaders as well as the wider organisation. Coach them so they
know the business case as well as you do.
Involve employees from the outset.
If we we’ve invested time and effort into a project we want to see it succeed. It goes
without saying that employee-led programs deliver fantastic results. Let employees
decide what the program will be called, what it could and shouldn’t include and how
it will work. This creates an army of recognition ambassadors before your program
even kicks off. It’s also a fun process, and goes to support your broader employee
engagement strategy by heightening a sense of ownership and belonging.
Identify the behaviours that you want to drive
Best practice recognitions programs often use their organisational values as the
core stimulus or language thread. If yours don’t resonate or you haven’t established
your organisational values yet, get them sorted before you start the design process.
Keep it super simple.
Your program shouldn’t be complicated. Assign one award for each company value
you want to highlight, and enable employees to reward their peers and send simple,
thank you e-cards. Together, these make recognition easy and intuitive.
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Create a universal foundation
Whatever commercial or cultural outcomes you are targeting with this program, its
success depends on a strong presence across the whole organisation. Increase the
opportunities people have to talk about the program by creating at least one award
or recognition opportunity can be given to anyone, regardless of their role or rank.
It’s fine to allow for individual business units or teams to add to this with team or
project specific incentives, but they’re just icing on the cake.
Develop a communications strategy
The day you launch the program will be euphoric, especially as everyone has
been involved in program design. Frequent communication (through face-toface,
company communication channels and the recognition technology itself) is
essential to achieving awesome results. Build an events calendar that is accessible
by advocates across the organisation.
Measure and report
Track the progress of your program by accessing the rate your employees are giving
and receiving recognition. This gives you an indication of the individuals and teams
who are engaged and achieving in the business. Leverage the support of your
executive sponsor by ensuring any managers who aren’t recognising their team or
failing to lead by example are held to account.
Give it time
It will likely take 3-9 months for your program to ramp up in terms of participation
and velocity of recognition. The commercial impact generally takes nine to 18
months to be visible, while improvements in communication and morale can affect
different teams at different times.
Recognition – the experience of acknowledging others and understanding that what
we are doing is impacting our workplace community – is a positive for everyone
concerned. You’re allowed to inject humour, a little bit of sparkle, and even a dash of
weird to really have it hit the mark.
Redii can help you build a recognition program that drives results. Make use of our resources or talk to our team.
www.redii.com email@example.com +61 1300 856 356
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1. Bersin by Deloitte (2012) The Employee Recognition Maturity Model
2. Lupfer, Elizabeth (2011) Social Knows: Employee Engagement Statistics
3. Sheridan, Kevin (2012) Building a Magnetic Culture, McGraw Hill Professional
4. (2013) The Power of Employee Recognition, Aberdeen Group
5. Fleming, John (2007) Human Sigma, Gallup Press
6. Fleming, John (2007) Human Sigma, Gallup Press
7. (2013) The EY Australian Productivity Pulse
8. (2012) Globoforce Workforce Mood Tracker Survey
9. (2009) Motivating People, Getting Beyond Money, McKinsey
10. Recalculated figures based on stats in a 2009 case study by Jack Phillips Center for Research, ROI Institute and Bloom Consulting, Inc.
11. (2012) Globoforce Workforce Mood Tracker Survey
12. (2012) SHRM / Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey
13. Based on responses from over 3,000 employees across different industries
14. Miller, Michael Craig (2013) The Mental Health Benefits of Gratitude, Harvard Medical School Commentaries
Contact us to learn more about
how Redii can help you set up
a recognition program that
creates a happier workplace
and more successful business.
+61 1300 856 356