Why and How to Recognise at Work



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.

Grow profits


faster than


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



employees are


The Science of Happiness (2014) Globoforce

more likely to

recommend their

company to a


and spend


more of their

time feeling


Increase productivity

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

experienced a


drop in absenteesim,



reduction in turnover.

The Science of Happiness

(2014) Globoforce

Increase sales

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.

Have fun!

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 hello@redii.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

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