10 Steps to building a successful employee recognition program

With bountiXP

We know there is an overwhelming amount of material available about employee recognition, and it’s easy to feel as though you’ve stumbled into a Netflix-themed employee recognition world with new content added almost daily.

So where and how do you start?

This guide will help you to cut out all the noise and focus on getting your employee recognition program up and running, successfully and in no time.

This guide has been specifically written for any and all managers who are faced with the constraints of budget, time and resources and are not quite sure how to gain C-Suite buy-in for such a program.

Together with our partners and their almost 40-year track record of designing employee recognition and human performance solutions, we’ve written this guide to help you get out of the starting blocks and into the recognition race.

When done right, employee recognition leads to a stronger emotional and psychological commitment from the employee to the company. From increased productivity and collaboration to a deeper level of employee engagement.

Employee recognition is a critical tool when it comes to talent management and the creation of an empathetic, inclusive and purpose-driven company. It helps reduce employee turnover, absenteeism and is ultimately able to drive company success. 

10 steps to building a successful employee recognition program

With this guide you’ll be equipping yourself with the employee recognition resources you need for your company’s journey to total employee engagement. It's the foundation you need to start recognising and rewarding your employees to foster a culture of appreciation.

You’ll learn how to

  • Harness employee recognition as a powerful company driver
  • Design a social recognition program with measurable targets.
  • Align employee recognition with your organisational goals.
  • Develop a robust employee recognition strategy.
  • Launch a social recognition program that your employees will love.
  • Plan your program commitments.
  • Identify your key program role players
  • Manage and measure your program for effectiveness and impact.
  • Communicate strategically to encourage high levels of employee adoption.

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Part 1:

Setting the scene for

Employee recognition

What is employee recognition?

For the purposes of this guide, we’ve decided to define it as follows:

Employee recognition is a timely acknowledgement, informally or formally, of a person’s actions or behaviours that are above and beyond standard performance and support a company’s values and goals.

This can be expressed in various ways such as emotional, intangible, symbolic, or a tangible award or reward.

There are four types of recognition
  • Recognising people
  • Recognising work
  • Recognising dedication
  • Recognising results
But, what does employee recognition do?

For companies, it helps to create a high-performance culture by aligning their employees to their strategic plan. There is a strong focus on driving innovation and an elevated customer experience.

To feel appreciated is one of the most important human needs. It shows that our work is valued and when this happens we are motivated to repeat positive behaviours to retain this sense of value or go beyond that last performance.

Can you remember how you felt in school when a teacher praised you for doing good work? Do you remember the sense of accomplishment in receiving that exclusive gold star? For your classmates, it became a driver to attaining a gold star themselves.

It’s no different in the workplace. Employees want to be acknowledged for their contribution and saying ‘thank you’ when it matters can mean the difference between an awesome company culture and a broken one.

When employees feel appreciated you’re essentially investing time into their existence, and by virtue of that, they’re going to invest in you. This can take the form of increased teamwork or collaboration, that leads to a better employee experience that ultimately leads to a better customer experience.

This creates a positive and productive work environment in which your employees will want to put in discretionary effort to assist the company in realising it’s goals.

Recognition satisfies a person’s desire to feel valued and motivates us to repeat a behaviour where acceptance is high. In the workplace, recognition provides employees with the dots to connect their contribution with the company’s vision - the bigger picture.

For an employee recognition program to be successful, there are a few must-haves that should be met;

It must be specific:

When you recognise your employees it’s important to be specific about what behaviours or actions are being appreciated and rewarded.

This is the key to ensuring repeatable positive actions and behaviours that you want to reinforce.

The more specific you are with what you desire to see from them, the easier it is for your employees to understand which contributions are valuable to you and will help you align their behaviours accordingly

Short story:

Krista is a contact centre operator and she noticed that a client was being charged for a service that she wasn’t getting and reversed the billing transactions, much to the client’s delight. As her manager, you could send her a quick thanks: “Hey Krista, great job with the client last month.”

While this acknowledgement is definitely valued, something specific could have more impact e.g.: “Hey Krista, great job catching that billing error and resolving it so quickly. Our contact centre needs more efficient employees like you.”

This style of recognition details to Krista exactly what matters to her manager in terms of her performance. Now that she is aware of this, she will actively search for opportunities to repeat this type of behaviour

It must be frequent:

We know that work and life gets busy with meetings, email inboxes that are always overflowing, and strategic planning sessions that are crucial to business success. Amidst this it’s easy to forget about your team’s contributions over a month, a week or even for the day.

Employee recognition is far more effective when it’s given frequently.

It should be given as soon as you observe an employee display a positive action or behaviour towards reaching team and company goals. Recognition that’s infrequent increases the possibility of employees feeling unappreciated.

To help with frequent recognition, many companies today are implementing employee recognition technology, like bountiXP, to make it easier for employees and managers to recognise other employees’ contributions as it happens.

Short story:

Desmond is a hard worker, he’s always timeous, he delivers on whatever task he’s assigned, consistently throughout the year. Each year at the company’s quarterly awards gala he is recognised as a conscientious worker and awarded in front of his peers. While it’s great that Desmond’s employer recognises him at the quarterly awards gala; is Desmond motivated to continue to be a top performer every day?

Not really because there’s no driver to keep him performing on that level if he’s only recognised for that one thing, that one time.

Imagine if Desmond’s employer recognised and/or rewarded him each time he delivered during that quarter.

Do you think Desmond would feel valued? Yes he would.

On-the-spot rewards and real-time recognition encourages intrinsic motivation.

It also helps Desmond understand what behaviours you really value, and how that was able to lead him to continue going above and beyond a standard work performance.

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It must be timely:

If you want effective, impactful employee recognition it must be timely.


Timely recognition has the most impact! With each day, week or month that passes, employees forget the context of the recognition, causing less impact and meaning.

Delayed recognition also results in employees not fully understanding how consequential their actions were.

In acknowledging your employees contributions timeously they’ll be motivated to execute those actions more often.

Short story:

Jill is an events manager who has a big event with complex logistical requirements to pull off in record time. For weeks leading up to the event Jill stays at the office late, works over weekends, drives to suppliers to ensure that everything is as it should be.

The day of the event everything goes according to plan and is dubbed the event of the year!

At the event and the following day at the office, Jill’s manager doesn’t say anything to her except for: “Jill the client has just briefed in another event, we can brainstorm about it later.” A week goes by, then a month and Jill is already juggling three more events and still no ‘thank you’. One of these three events Jill is planning is the company year-end function. The event is going swimmingly and to Jill’s surprise, she is awarded with a performance bonus for the ‘event of the year’ she meticulously arranged.

For months poor Jill has been agonising over not been thanked by her manager, to the point of re-subscribing to job portals. Whilst she was certainly appreciative of the big, unexpected performance bonus she received, the undervalued feelings she felt resulted in her disengaging from her company over that period.

It must be visible:

Ever gone into a manager’s office and he/she expressed thanks for a job well done only to relay the story to your nosy colleagues who were prodding,

“What did he/she say?”

It always turns out to be a ‘you-had-to-be-there moment’ because you can’t describe your feeling valued and they weren’t there to soak up the recognition with you. So it just becomes a ‘you’ moment, not a shared one.

Recognition done privately is effective but recognition done in a public setting amplifies its impact. It gives other employees the opportunity to understand what behaviours employers value, it allows them to engage in the recognition conversation and motivates them to act or behave in the same way in order to receive this recognition for themselves.

Short story:

Justin is a web developer at an agency who has just launched a ‘bright ideas’ campaign to all employees to drive innovation

Justin thinks it’s a great opportunity to brainstorm ideas to automate processes for greater efficiency. He comes up with an idea to automate a component of his company’s contact centre client interaction process.

His idea is chosen and as a direct result, he saves customers several on-hold minutes waiting for an operator by directing them to self-service options.

Justin’s manager calls a staff meeting and thanks him publicly for his forward-thinking idea and details its impact on the company’s customers and in the broader scope on the company

This does two things: Justin now knows his idea was valued and his colleagues’ are prompted with an opportunity to innovate themselves.

That being said, consideration must be given to different employee personality types: extroverts and the introverts.

Introverts and extroverts operate differently in almost every setting and the workplace is no different. Extroverts thrive on open plan office layouts and face-to-face meetings while introverts prefer a desk in the furthest corner and prefer email or Slack as their go-to ‘online meeting’.

Now just as these personality types have different approaches to work, the way they want to be recognised differs too. Extroverts will relish public recognition while introverts might prefer a quiet one-on-one discussion with their manager for a job well done.

To this end, it’s important to understand that public recognition isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach and should be carried out with discretion and careful thought.

Top tip: Values-based, employee recognition platforms, like bountiXP, are perfect for both extroverts and introverts. For extroverts it’s like PDA (Public Displays of Affection) at work - everyone can see it and they’ll love you for ‘calling them out’ for doing great work. For introverts, employee recognition platforms work well because, although they’re being recognised publicly, the message is sent via the platform making it more private and there’s less on-the-spot pressure than a public ‘thanks’ in front of a group of colleagues.

Recognition vs. incentives - What’s the difference?

We have covered a lot about employee recognition; so where do incentives fit into the scheme of things?

Let’s compare the two and see if we can clarify this for you:

Recognition Incentives
After the fact Before the fact
Objective and subjective behaviour and criteria Objective targets and measures
Ongoing, long-term initiative Time-bound
Element of surprise Known reward
Unknown and known frequency Known frequency
Frequent Infrequent
Emphasis on psychic value Emphasis on tangible value
Intangible reward primary Tangible reward primary
Tangible reward secondary Intangible reward secondary
Values-based and results-based Numbers-based
Focused on many Focused on elite few
Cause and effect link more removed Direct cause and effect link
Value through cultural impact and employee engagement Objective value through improved performance
From the table there’s clear difference:


are more applicable in instances when we want to encourage specific sales goals, for example. Its limited to a group of people and happens less regularly than recognition.


is meant to include everybody and doesn’t only focus on a select few individuals or departments.

It focuses on everyone’s contribution and creates a recognition culture rather than a once-off campaign. This is where daily performances across the company are acknowledged, celebrated, and in some cases rewarded.

Part 2:

The business case for

employee recognition

The business case for employee recognition

Did you know companies that excel in employee recognition are 12 times more likely to have strong company outcomes?

Global recognition reports, employee recognition studies, motivation theories, behavioural science - whichever of the evidence you choose to consult, the link between employee recognition and company performance has been proven!

No matter what on-trend term is used to explain employee recognition, we’ve known for years that how we treat people will set the tone for how they treat you and your customers.

The reason for this is simple... Employees are people, they’re human and as humans we want to feel appreciated and valued for who we are and in the things we do. We’re social creatures and desire friendship - which findings have shown could positively influence employee performance. It’s how we evaluate our lives and make sense of things.

Even if you haven’t ticked all the employee recognition boxes in your company yet, don’t worry, the fact that you are reading this guide means you have made a start, and that’s the key.

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Too often companies become so consumed by the fact that they have an engagement problem, that what they haven’t realised yet is they really have a culture problem.

Employee engagement is not a destination. It’s a journey.

On this journey you’re going to craft a complete employee experience, but to get there you need to win the ‘hearts and minds’ of your employees and this starts with recognition.

Companies can’t function without the emotional and psychological commitment of its employees. Much like companies appraise employee performance, employees appraise the companies’ performance. If companies don’t meet the employees’ basic human need - to feel appreciated - they risk being ‘fired’ - with all costs for the organisations’ account.

Many companies have been using employee recognition for years but generally only celebrating tenure in the form of work anniversaries.

To really drive company results; it’s important that companies not only recognise employees for ‘hanging around’ but to start building a culture of recognition where employees are recognised and rewarded for values-aligned behaviours that translate to meaningful contributions towards company success.

In the midst of the disruption, companies are hastening to find the route to employee engagement, because inch-by-inch, day-by-day they’re starting to realise that their employees are in fact their customers, and demand to be engaged.

The benefits of an engaged workforce cannot be overstated.

Employee engagement is positively correlated to core company results and continues to be linked to critical company outcomes such as profitability, productivity, employee and customer retention, quality and safety. We can’t think of a company that wouldn’t want to improve those key goals.

Now for the good news…

Recognition is highly correlated to increased employee engagement. In fact, global employee research experts, Gallup, found that employees’ engagement and motivation levels are strongly affected by how often they are recognised for doing a great job. Their findings further indicate a positive connection between praise and customer satisfaction, loyalty, productivity and profitability.

Other studies conducted, support these findings, indicating that companies with active employee recognition programs have more engaged teams with lower voluntary turnover and experience positive increases in customer satisfaction!

Fact: Employee recognition catalyses employee engagement to drive company performance.

Even if you’re an employee recognition skeptic, no matter how you interpret this data, it’s apparent that there’s a gap in employee recognition within companies. Without it, companies can’t build an engaged workforce and the financial ramifications of such a reality could prove fatal to a company’s survival.

In its most basic sense, employees don’t feel valued. They are disconnected and misaligned from their employers’ vision and values, and as a result, are not motivated to do their best work.

The worst of all?

You’re paying for this lack of commitment, every day!

Each day that you don’t recognise and reward your employees for exceptional performance, you miss the opportunity to innovate and compete with industry players.

You lose the chance to benefit from the discretionary effort made possible by engaged employees. As a result, you could witness a decrease in customer satisfaction, sales and a staggering increase in employee absenteeism and turnover.

Part 3:

Let’s get practical

Chapter 1:

Do you need a

recognition program?

Do you need employee recognition?

Recognition is considered to be one of the most impactful drivers of employee engagement. In these times of instability, disruption and automation, business leaders are realising that having a high-performing, results-driven workforce is critical to their success.

While gold watches worked in earlier times today’s multi-generational workforce demand an in-the-moment acknowledgement of their efforts. They want the recognition and they want it now; favourably full-feature platforms such as bountiXP can do that in real time.

Generations in the workforce
Baby Boomers 1946-1964
Generation X 1965-1981
Generation Y (Millennials) 1982-2000
GenZ 2001 - TBD

Recognition is a fantastic way to show your employees that you care about them and value their hard work. It boosts confidence and a willingness to collaborate and evokes feelings of pride that turns them into brand advocates.

This, in turn, is great for your employer value proposition; particularly when you need to attract and retain top talent. For your company, it results in decreased absenteeism and turnover (and the costs associated with hiring and training new recruits) and increased innovation, productivity, teamwork and bottom-line results.

Now that we’ve established the wins for your company and employees when you implement a recognition program, what are some of the outcomes that you want to achieve from this program?

According to a WorldAtWork Trends in Employee Recognition report, 2017, the most frequently cited goals employers want to achieve are:

  • Recognition for years of service.
  • Create and/or maintain a positive work environment.
  • Create and/or maintain a culture of recognition.
  • Motivate high performance.
  • Reinforce desired behaviours.
  • Support organisational mission and values.
  • Increase employee morale.
  • Support becoming/remaining an employer of choice.
  • Increase employee retention and decrease turnover.

Other goals in the survey included overall drivers such as: encourage employee loyalty, support a culture of change, provide line of sight to company goals and encourage safe practices.

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Quick takeaways for why you need a recognition program:

  • It’s a critical part of your employer value proposition.
  • It’s a key driver in your total rewards strategy.
  • It fulfils a human motivational need.
  • It affects heart rhythms that directly impact mental and physical performance.
  • It can positively impact the bottom line.

Chapter 2:

Choosing a

recognition program

Choosing a recognition program

Now you understand what recognition is all about and how it translates to business performance and why it’s necessary to build a high-performing company.

So how do you choose an employee recognition program that suits your company and its goals?

Don’t fear we have you covered.

Companies need to design recognition and reward programs that appeal to a multi-generational workforce... We hear you, ‘it’s those Millennials again…” The fact is that Millennials are disrupting things at the office but the truth is your boomers are retiring, so incorporating Millennials is crucial.

The good news?

It isn’t difficult to cater to multi-generational workforce if you know what to look for in a recognition program.

We know what you’re thinking…

It must be easy to administer, scalabe...you’re right.

But there’s more, so let’s add to that shall we?

A strategic employee recognition program is built around elements that are proven to achieve great business results.

It can be used as an effective leadership tool and to align employee performance to core company values through the reinforcement of positive behaviours that support your company goals.

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Therefore you need to choose a program that will help you:

  • Clearly define recognition goals and targets.
  • Create a measurement system that defines program performance metrics.
  • Link recognition opportunities to strategic priorities.
  • Implement easy registration and onboarding across your company.
  • Recognise exceptional performance with day-to-day, informal and formal recognition types.
  • Drive program comittment with company-wide social engagement (likes, posts, comments).
  • Administer intrinsic (e.g. gamification) and extrinsic (online gift card, digital vouchers, travel, merchandise) rewards for motivational appeal and meaningful impact.
  • Create strategic dialogue, targeted one-on-one communication and announcements.
  • Measure your program’s effectiveness with ongoing feedback in the form of pulse and strategic, long-form surveys.
  • Analyse your program’s insights with data analytics (e.g. online dashboards and reports).
  • Build a continuous culture of learning with ‘just-in-time’ microlearning initiatives that can be accessed from anywhere and any device.

Chapter 3:

Aligning your company goals to your

recognition program

Aligning your company goals to your recognition program

Recognising employees is a great way to really live out your company values.

The key to a successful employee recognition program?

To have values that encourage positive actions and motivate your employees to perform in alignment with those company values.

Companies speak toward values, but often they never really define them adequately. They express belief in their values, but their employees never really know what the old “values wall” in the boardroom means.

If you want your employees to behave in ways that support your company’s overall goals then you need to help them truly understand what your company values are and what they mean on a daily basis.

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How many of your employees know or are able to list your values?

The word ‘value’ means worth. For companies - some value creativity over accountability, others value safety over results. A Google search will tell us that values are:

A set of ideals or beliefs that are accepted or fought against by individuals or groups. It can also be described as something worth doing or not worth doing, striving for or not worth striving for.

“...beliefs of an individual or group in which they have an emotional investment, for or in favour of something…”

Are you starting to see why it’s important to have defined values for your company?

In your workplace, it should provide a framework that guides you in your daily contributions and to ultimately satisfy your company’s needs.

Even if your company’s needs differ for all its stakeholders - shareholders, customers, clients, employees. This then ties back to the fact that the needs require an understanding of people, and people are human. How they behave = human behaviour. So central to developing a differentiated set of values for your company is the understanding of human behaviour.

Values are able to justify these needs for individuals and companies. For companies, it could be defined as a need for sustainability, competitiveness and profitability, but that won’t motivate your employees will it?

However, when employees behave in alignment to those core values where timely, detailed recognition is given publicly, your employees are able to connect with these values and understand what behaviour is needed to attain that.

Just in case you were wondering... ethics aren’t values and values aren’t ethics.

Values provide strategic direction to help stakeholders understand how things are done. Ethics offer a system of morality - the what’s right and wrong parts of your ecosystem.

Link your company values for program success

Recognition that’s linked to your core values will ultimately drive the right employee behaviours. That’s why it’s imperative to have a values-based recognition program to ensure you can measure how your employees live the values, the culture and display positive behaviours. A recognition program that’s not linked to those values can be a wasted opportunity to engage.

It’s time to get those values off the wall and into the hearts and minds of your employees.

Values are powerful, they are the true way of defining positive behaviour. As humans we have fingerprints, companies have values, which are unique only to your company.

A mission statement answers, “What are we doing today?”.
The vision statement answers, “Where are we going?
The values answer, “How do we behave around here?”

Did you notice that the answer to the values question could mean that if your employees don’t understand this, they’re less likely to perform as you would expect them to?

It’s therefore crucial for you to define your company values and spend some time aligning this to specific behaviours (we touch on some behavioural ideas a little later).

So how do you actually create this alignment?

Companies are considered to be aligned when strategy and culture underpin each other. This ensures that the values mutually relate to the company goals and your employee's actions complement their tasks.

Short story:

The role of connectedness in motivation

Are you building a cathedral or laying bricks?

There’s an old story about three bricklayers, each one of them was asked by a passing tourist what they were doing...The first bricklayer answered slightly agitated, “I’m laying bricks’. The tourist proceeded to ask the second bricklayer what he was doing to which he replied: “I’m erecting a wall.” The tourist then moved on to ask the third bricklayer what he was doing. The third bricklayer beaming with pride eagerly answered, “I’m building a grand cathedral.”

The message in this story can be carried out in companies today.

Alignment with company vision, being connected to a bigger purpose motivates employees to perform above and beyond.

Because the bricklayer was able to see the bigger picture, he was motivated to continue and inspired to find solutions to any obstacles that he was presented with. Employees who are aligned to a company’s values, vision and mission enable them to foster deeper connections with their peers and the company at large.

Chapter 4:

Planning your recognition program

Recognition strategy

To inspire exceptional performances, collaboration and engagement amongst your employees, you have to develop a solid recognition strategy for your company. This strategy needs to clearly communicate the objectives for all of your company’s recognition initiatives.

A recognition strategy that’s meticulously mapped out will help you to easily assess the effectiveness of your program. This will also help you to better align your employee recognition and rewards efforts with your strategic business objectives and, of course, employee expectations.

When you create your recognition strategy you’ll need to identify program objectives that provide various opportunities for your employees to be recognised and rewarded.

A well-documented recognition strategy starts with the end in mind.

Once you understand what your employees need and want you’re able to define the goals and performances you desire.

When you create the link between recognition and results it becomes easier to obtain top management buy-in and support. This will go a long way to help you drive your company along this recognition journey towards success.

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Let’s take a look at objective 1: A great recognition strategy.

1. Establish strategic goals for your recognition program

At the heart of every successful employee recognition program is a refined strategy. This forms your blueprint and determines the style of program you’re wanting to implement. Get your recognition strategy structured the right way, it can only serve you well during the course of your program, trust us.

It will determine the core purpose for you wanting to recognise your employees and it needs to be answered in a manner that when deciphered can be understood by the leadership, management and the program users. A well-detailed recognition strategy will set the path for your measurements for the program so try to be as transparent as possible with what your goals are.

We’ve put together some questions to help you along this process;

– Why is your company wanting to implement a recognition program?

Take a look at the shortlist of recommended best-practice strategic recognition goals to help answer this question:

Recommended best-practice strategic goals

  • To improve employee engagement.
  • To create and instil a culture of recognition.
  • To consolidate all recognition programs into one overall focused strategy.
  • To align employees with your mission, goals and values.
  • To recognise and reinforce desired behaviours.
  • To recognise and drive desired performance results.
  • To motivate individual and team performance, to positively impact employee performance.

– Begin with the company’s vision and values – what does your company want to achieve or accomplish?

– Which business drivers is your company trying to impact? (e.g. employee engagement, retention, alignment, performance, values/ behaviours-based leadership, etc.)

– Which company objectives should be supported through your recognition program? This could be things like operational excellence, quality, safety, innovation, customer service and so on.

– What will the specific objectives of your program be? Ideally these should be defined from both an company (employer) and employee perspective.

2. How to translate your strategic goals into meaningful objectives

  • At what point would your recognition program be deemed successful?
  • You’ll need to establish measures, sources of evidence for measures and targets (with target dates) for each objective and clearly differentiate between qualitative and quantitative measures.
  • You can develop a recognition program ‘scorecard’ with weighted measures to determine the success of your program at any time and in which areas you can improve.
Here are some examples of goals and objectives:
Goal Objective
To create a culture of recognition 70% of managers participating in the program need to successfully recognise employees by the end of the first year of the program.
  80% of employees have received recognition by the end of the first year of the program.
  To illustrate the positive impact that employee recognition has on management and employee perceptions on:
  • alignment to company goals
  • attitude towards work
  • motivation levels
  • performance at work
  • retention
  • management practices
Improve employee engagement To realise a positive correlation between recognition and improvement in employee engagement scores

3. How to define and profile your program participants

Program participants’ eligibility and roles will differ according to the different types of recognition that you will implement. For example, who can recognise versus who can be recognised. This is unpacked in the measurement section of this book.

Here are some great questions to ask in determining eligibility for your program as well as which teams or individuals will be included or excluded from the program:

– Who needs to participate in the program in order to achieve the strategic goals and objectives? This may vary according to your already defined goals.

– Is this an enterprise-wide program or is it for a specific department of your business?

– Should any employees be excluded? For example; how should suspended employees or employees undergoing disciplinary action or freelancers be included or excluded from your program?

– Are there restrictions in terms of whose able to earn tangible rewards? Some companies may prefer to exclude certain levels of management from specific rewards.

– With the gig economy on the rise, it is important to determine if non-permanent employees will form part of your program or not.

4. How to determine your program period

It’s important to mention that employee recognition programs, like bountiXP, are culture-changing and should be viewed as a medium- to long-term initiative for your company. It’s a process that requires, according to research, no less than three years in order to become a critical facilitator of change as it relates to the company culture.

In some instances, it can take up to six years for recognition to become fully entrenched and integrated within an organisation! To this end, your program can (and should) be adapted to suit the changing needs of your company.

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5. Determine the size of your program investment

Central to the success of your recognition program is to determine how it will be resourced. Don’t let this part scare you! You’re serious about driving change, so let’s do this!

It’s important to understand that in order for your program’s goals and objectives to be achieved, the resources and financial requirements need to be met.

The international guidelines or trends for recognition budgeting and spend as part of a total rewards strategy are as follows:

– According to research done by WorldAtWork in their 2017 Trends in Employee Recognition report the following stats:

» average is 2% of payroll
» the median budget is 1%
» the mode (most common response) is also 1%.

Our recommendation is between 1% and 2% of payroll; if extrinsic rewards are included. However, if intrinsic rewards or competition-rewarding methods are used (i.e. a limited number of winners versus everyone has an opportunity to be rewarded), then the recognition budget can be reduced to 0.75% of payroll.

As previously highlighted, recognition programs take a while to become fully integrated into a company and the budget uptake can be a few years.

This is the reason that subsequent years’ budgets shouldn’t be based entirely on the previous years actuals because the uptake should increase year-on-year.

To put this into perspective, a Stanford Business School case study showed that it took a company six years before the full 1% of payroll was being utilised!

Determining your investment on an employee recognition program can be highly variable because every company’s needs are different. If we were to practically illustrate how companies located in various geographical territories could approach budgeting, it would look something like this:

Here’s an example based on 1 000 employees located in a region such as sub-Saharan Africa.

Average employee annual earnings (ZAR12,500 pm)   ZAR 150 000
Minimum motivational award (% of annual earnings) (after tax) 1.0% ZAR 1 500
Suggested minimum annual awards budget (pre-tax) R 1 500 000 ZAR 1 500 000

Here’s an example based on 1 000 employees located in a region such as the U.S.

Average employee annual earnings (USD 3 750pm)   USD 30 000
Minimum motivational award (% of annual earnings) (after tax) 1.0% USD 300
Suggested minimum annual awards budget (pre-tax) USD 300 000 USD 300 000

According to the Incentive Research Foundation, approximately three quarters of all U.S. companies leverage non-monetary rewards to support its employee recognition programs. The 2018 IRF Outlook study also indicates that 43% of respondents invest an estimated USD 250 per employee.

Top tips for budgeting for your recognition program

Remember, it’s equally important to understand best-practice recognition budgeting as it is understanding why it’s critical, particularly in a disruptive business climate, to invest in your employees.

Reduce costs with an integrated recognition platform: Disparate employee systems and programs takes a lot of time to manage, then you still have to measure its effectiveness. Keep your data, analytics and recognition in one place. This gives you a holistic view of your recognition and engagement efforts and takes way less time, money and effort to manage.

Consider the taxes and beware of hidden costs. Many platforms load expensive registration, onboarding and set-up costs, so find a platform like bountiXP that offers free and easy set-up with a learning centre to self-service your way to recognition prowess. When budgeting for recognition programs please consider the taxation implications for your company and the employee. Taxes will always need to be budgeted for - either within the rewards portion of the program or as an additional provision. As a rule of thumb, we recommend that it be assigned as an additional provision held back by your company and managed on behalf of your employees to alleviate additional taxation burden.

Adhere to best-practice recognition standards. If there are challenges to fund the program according to best-practice standards, you could make the rewards more exclusive by rendering it competition based, but ensure that the giveaways are still substantial. It is important to understand that the overall effectiveness of the program could be affected but you could still boost employee engagement and drive program participation with gamification that promote social interaction and friendly competition

Above, all make sure that with every activity and/or interaction you’re building a positive company culture that will drive engagement.

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So what’s the role of rewards (intrinsic and extrinsic) within the recognition framework?

For employees the best part of an employee recognition program is the rewards! A great example is bountiXP that offers a wide range of surprise-and-delight rewards including digital vouchers, rewards card, virtual rewards card, online rewards shop, and: merchandise, rewards app and a travel mall.

With this in mind take the time to really think about the blend of awards and rewards you’d like to implement for your employees. Make it as fun, meaningful and rewarding as possible!

Keep in mind that you’re trying to engage, motivate and reward multiple generations of employees so it must also have intrinsic and extrinsic appeal.

Consider the user experience when designing the redemption process as well and ensure that you detail precisely how the program users can redeem their recognition awards/rewards. When implemented correctly recognition and reward strategies can become powerful engagement enablers that lead to really positive business results.

Not all rewards motivate people in the same way and that’s why we suggest the implementation of both “intrinsic” and “extrinsic” motivation.

Take a look at the below rewards continuum for intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. This is just an example, but take on the challenge of creativity here:

Rewards continuum (intrinsic and extrinsic)

Day-to-day recognition Manager’s discretion Gifts and tokens Individual rewards Group rewards
Manager to staff
Info and support
Involvement and autonomy
Flexible hours
Manager time
Learning opportunity
Branded gifts
Individual travel
Gift Card
Experience awards
Quarterly and annual awards
Parties and events
Field trips Travel
Team building events
Private • Intangible • Informal • Intrinsic Extrinsic • Formal • Tangible • Public

Successful programs include a wide array of motivational mechanisms to encourage excellent performance and reinforce positive behaviours that align to the company’s objectives and values.

To optimise motivational appeal you’ll want to consider including:

Intangible recognition: This can include anything from verbal or public recognition to a written sticky note saying “great work” or if you’re harnessing a recognition software platform, like bountiXP, be sure to include the ability to send a “Thanks” for a job well done as part of your requirement.

Tangible recognition: will form a part of your total rewards strategy. This could include rewards like gift cards, vouchers and even incentive travel.

While your budget may be limited, don’t let this restrain your creativity in driving employee motivation.

6. Establish your program’s roles, responsibilities and guidelines

Every aspect of your recognition program needs to be well documented. This will be an ongoing process. You may want to consider using online documents that can be easily updated should a change be needed. Don’t forget to communicate this process. Just because you updated the recognition document, doesn’t mean your entire team knows this.

It’s important that you create a joint task team for your employee recognition program. This process will involve identifying suitable team members.

Once you’ve done this you will need to clearly define each member’s roles and responsibilities to ensure everyone is on the same page and implementing the program correctly.

Task teams

Your recognition program will likely have several task teams to ensure its success. These task teams will be responsible for the implementation of your program. They will also be the custodians of the policies and guidelines to ensure that a fair and consistent approach is adopted throughout your company.

Your task teams should meet regularly. It’s recommended they meet once a month to discuss what’s been done and what’s to take place the following month. A process of ongoing analysis and optimisation is important to your program’s success.

Defining the various roles and responsibilities of your program

There are a number of key stakeholders, including employees at all levels, whose input is required to ensure the success of your program. It’s important to remember this is a collaborative project with some of the role players including:

  • Human resources
    • Provide program policy guidance for employees.
    • Help the task teams drive innovation across recognition practices within the company.
    • Share ideas and best-practice methodologies for recognising employees.
    • Assist with the training of all employees on the recognition program.
    • Assist with the sustainability of the recognition program.
    • Provide assistance and support for various recognition processes, as required.
  • Line managers
    • Promote the recognition process by actively participating and recognising employees and encouraging program participation.
    • Should ‘walk the talk’ and provide strong and consistent sponsorship of the program within their business area.
  • Recognition task team
    • The design and development of the recognition guidelines, processes and procedures.
    • Ongoing change management – that is continuous company-wide communication and marketing of the recognition program and education of key stakeholders and all employees.
    • Active tracking of total program costs.
    • Provide central reporting and insights that relate to the measurement of program success.
    • Audit of the business areas’ processes and providing guidance.
    • Ensure all recognition processes are aligned with company values and goals.
    • Ensure there is a consistent approach to recognition.
    • Work with the relevant HR team and recognition platform provider to ensure the following:
      - To provide an actual headcount of program participants.
      - To provide monthly reports of all employee movements around intakes, exits and transfers within the business. They need to ensure that the employee database is updated regularly.
      - Ensure that monthly program points are issued and that tax gross ups are done and applied to the payroll.

Chapter 5:

Leadership and

management’s responsibility

Leadership and management responsibility

Behind every great recognition program is a great management team. A team who’s committed to ensuring the success of the program and to drive positive employee behaviours that align with your company’s values and support of its goals.

Through the empowerment of the right people, they should be able to actively manage, support and review the program and its effectiveness.

Some of the responsibilities of senior leadership and management could include:

To actively participate in the recognition program.

Commit to the granular details of program implementation:

  • To ensure the program is implemented with operational excellence including multiple levels of penetration across your company and to increase the frequency of recognition within your company.
  • To support and drive management participation and where possible. This could include recognition measures in scorecards so that people are measured and encouraged to perform specific values-based behaviours.
  • To ensure they practice what they preach, show public support and to actively embody the culture of recognition.
  • To review monthly executive reports on recognition and make helpful recommendations, intervene and/or support any required actions where appropriate.
  • To present and participate in regular recognition review sessions.
  • To track senior leader and management participation in the program, and showcase what they’re doing. Start by profiling senior leaders and managers about how they’re practising recognition through strategic program communications.
  • Mobilise any other other senior leaders and managers to endorse the program via communications.

You will need to ensure that appropriately skilled people are assigned to manage and support your recognition program.

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So how can you empower your program administrators?

Managers and business leaders play a significant role in ensuring that your recognition program is properly resourced and that their chosen task teams are empowered to apply their expertise in developing strategy, identifying appropriate goals, objectives and measures for the program.

Senior management will need to allow for enough autonomy to empower your program administrators and recognition task teams to administer budgets, arrange performance celebrations and team-building events.

Top Tip - Your program leaders and management should hold regular program review sessions to ensure continued alignment with company goals and to assess your overall program effectiveness.

Your recognition task team and management should fully participate and be responsible for the quality and delivery of the program.

They will also be responsible for your program’s continuous process improvement and have the autonomy to adjust the program where necessary in order to achieve your strategic program goals.

They will also be involved in tailoring aspects of the recognition program to meet the diverse needs of the changing workforce across the company.

Moving towards program delivery excellence.

It will serve you well to apply standard project management practices and methodologies when you’re busy implementing your recognition program.

Not only does this help to keep you organised, accountable and able to gain insights quickly, it also ensures program excellence.

Chapter 6:

Program measurement

Program measurement

How to effectively measure your recognition program. A statement not a question…

Many companies cannot wait to get their companies or various departments running on a recognition program.

Often they end up running with a program that’s not quite holistic and when it comes to measuring the effectiveness of the program, they are often at a loss as to where or how to get started on this.

So to avoid that moment of your heart sinking, because of the amount resources (time and money) you’ve spent to get this program off the ground, let’s get you started on some metrics that you need to be looking at in order to effectively measure both the successes and shortcomings of your recognition program.

What areas of your program should you be measuring?

Defining your objectives early on, will make sure that you always know what you’re aiming to achieve with your recognition program.

Objectives will help guide the specific measurements you need in order to analyse your efforts effectively at the various stages of implementation.

So let’s take a look at the different aspects of what you should be measuring the success of your program on:

1. Program implementation:

Why do we measure program implementation?

This enables us to benchmark the probability of success of your program. The managers who will be directly involved in the running of your program need to have buyin to implementing your recognition program.

If they don’t, the likelihood is that you won’t have any measurements of success and your organisation will have lost money in the process.

Let’s avoid costly errors like that.

So how exactly do you measure implementation?

You will be able to measure the successful implementation of your program through the training that you have run with program managers, the implementation of your communication strategy (which we will help you develop in a bit) as well as the presentation of any awards, events and celebrations hosted as a part of your recognition program.

You could calculate implementation success by working out how many managers you’ve trained to implement your recognition program, how many awards have been handed out and if you’re using technology to aid employee recognition, you can calculate how many nominations and notes have been sent and received.

These metrics will give you a good indication of how successful your program implementation and adoption is working. Most importantly it will provide you with data that will provide insights for continuous improvements.

It cannot be overstated how much you need the right team and managers to implement your recognition program. You will need to ensure the constant training and upskilling of managers to ensure your program’s objectives are always on track to being achieved.

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2. Program participation:

So you’ve started implementing your recognition program. This makes our hearts happy.

Program participation is another key metric on which to base your recognition performance metrics.

You may just be rolling out this program for a specific department, but you will need to know how this specific department is currently performing, before the roll out of your program.

Then once you’ve rolled your program out, measure how many people are actively participating in your recognition program.

How? Well, there are two elements at the crux of participation measurement:

• The measurement of participants:

How big is the department or organisation that you are rolling your recognition program out to? That’s exactly the baseline measurement of how many people should be actively participating in your program.

After you’ve begun, you should be measuring employee nominations sent and received, spot awards given and received and thank you notes posted on the bulletin board. You can measure this every 6 weeks or so, in which time you will be able to determine what percentage of the total program participants are actively engaging in the program based on the size of your department.

• Management participation:

We will take the same approach for management. How many are appointed at the outset and how many are actively implementing and engaging the program six weeks after roll-out?

How many managers are sending out nominations, thank you’s or publicly recognising employees for a job well done?

You want this outcome to lie in the middle, you don’t want too many managers and too few staff participating, but you also don’t want managers to not participate at all. After all your managers set the tone.

These percentages will provide insights into the success (or shortcomings) of your program where you can then re-asses, ask questions and make adjustments to your program as you see necessary.

Let’s take a quick look at Disney, they created this thing called #CastCompliment. It works like this: if you’re visiting a Disney park, and have had a positive experience with a cast member, which is Disney’s term for an employee, you’re encouraged to tweet about it. The employee’s supervisor will then retweet the compliment, along with a picture of the employee. Such a great example of senior management implementing employee recognition!

Participation in your program should not be something that’s forced, but rather something that is nurtured from the top down. Your managers ultimately set the tone for how this program will be adopted and accepted.

If you are using recognition software, your managers will need to be the ones to get it started. So start sending out those “thank you’s” and get that live dashboard looking great.

In no time you will have your employees participating to see how it all works.

3. Employee satisfaction:

Measuring employee satisfaction allows you to really benchmark your recognition efforts. But how do you measure employee satisfaction?

Most commonly, organisations adopt the employee satisfaction index known as the ESI.

The ESI is primarily hinged on three essential questions that you need to ask your staff. Real back to the basics stuff. Simply asking.

  • How satisfied are you with your current workplace and job?
  • How well does your workplace meet your expectations?
  • How close is your current workplace to your ideal workplace?

These questions will need to be asked on a scale of 1-10, where 10 is perfection.

Once you receive this feedback. You will need to analyse this data to give you an accurate measurement of employee satisfaction within your organisation.

The following calculation is used; ESI = (question mean value/3) x 100. The results vary from 0 to 100. The higher the score, the more satisfied the employee.

The limitations with the results from this specific methodology is that it can be difficult to base very focused actions to solving satisfaction issues, as the base questions are relatively broad.

This method, however, does provide baseline insights as to how healthy or unhealthy your levels of employee satisfaction are.

Many organisations use this methodology alongside a more in-depth employee satisfaction survey to yield greater results. These surveys are often used to measure your organisation engagement levels as well as to identify any challenges and/or opportunities within your organisation.

The key to higher success rates of these surveys is anonymity. Anonymous surveys are a great tool for gauging levels of engagement and workplace satisfaction. You will, however, need to make it known upfront that the data they share will be anonymous. This creates a greater sense of comfort among survey participants.

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But, how do you conduct these surveys?

Whilst you can conduct these surveys manually, you’re all about efficiency so check out tools like eValue; it measures workforce engagement and alignment in real time. It can even link questions in the pulse survey to strategic business goals. Tools like this allow for a shared view of your company’s culture, and you can instantly identify gaps in performance, which saves the slog of collating mounds of data manually.

Take a look at some of the survey questions Johnson & Johnson, a company that provides pharmaceutical products and medical devices, uses to increase their levels of employee engagement as well as retention:

  • Do you imagine yourself working at this job 12 months from now?
  • Do you feel proud to say you work at this company?
  • Would you refer a friend to work at this company?

They then use the feedback from the surveys to creatively overcome any major problems employees may be having. You can find 10 more highly engaging questions here.

So how often should you be measuring your levels of employee satisfaction?

If you are using these methods of measurement, it is recommended to conduct this survey at least every six months.

This close analysis will ensure your satisfaction levels are always on the up and up. If they’re not, you will at least have insights as to what may be wrong and the opportunity to fix them quickly. Enter pulse surveys.

A recent addition to the survey arsenal are pulse surveys. Pulse surveys are extremely useful in understanding employee sentiment on topics such as job satisfaction, work environment, leadership and so forth. Hence the name ‘pulse’. It would be strange if people only checked their bank accounts once a year, so it makes sense to continually check in with your employees - that’s the great thing about these surveys.

It is short, approximately between 1 and 5 questions long, and is very specific.

Organisations can disseminate them regularly - monthly even weekly - to really zero in on specific areas of improvement within the organisation.

Pulse surveys are great because it is:
  • Conducted frequently and obtaining pockets of relevant feedback enables organisations to respond much faster to employee challenges.
  • Useful for focusing on specific areas of improvement or business objectives.
  • Shorter, so the chances of employees completing it honestly is significantly higher.
  • Excellent method to evaluate the effects of organisational changes.
  • A boost for employee engagement and company culture as it sends the message that the organisation cares and values its employees’ feedback.
  • Important for gathering real-time insights into your workforce.
  • A great way to cultivate a culture of continuous improvement and communication.

Twice daily happiness index: is used as a method of measuring employee happiness and satisfaction. This methodology uses a set of 1-2 easy questions, one that can be scaled, and one that is open-ended. Companies can tailor these questions to their specific ‘pain points’ or areas they want to zero in on e.g. measuring the success of an internal campaign or newly-launched recognition program.

These questions should be asked twice a day, you can then collate and analyse these answers. Over time these answers should provide you with insights into any trends that may be impacting happiness in both positive and negative ways.

It is an easy, simple measurement method that works well for companies to garner intuitive analytics that can be used for strategic, actionable insight. Companies can gather workplace insights swiftly and identify primary ‘hot spots’ or trends that need addressing. It helps companies to respond quickly and stay ahead of any organisational challenges.

As with all surveys, it is important to ensure anonymity - employees need to feel comfortable sharing their feedback. Above all, share the results. Sharing the results ensures inclusivity - a problem shared is a problem solved.

4. Productivity measures:

Tracking the levels of productivity from before the implementation of a recognition program to the levels of productivity you are experiencing during the implementation period, will be a primary metric to understanding all your recognition efforts.

  • What was your percentage of retention before program implementation?
  • What was your turnover percentage before program implementation?
  • What were your levels of productivity before program implementation?

Once you know those statistics - measure them again six months after program launch.

You may consider sharing these metrics with your recognition program management team, so there’s a big picture understanding of where the organisation currently is, which also then as a by-product informs the ‘why’ of the program.

Then reconvene every quarter with the same data and discuss what the differences are with the program in place. These metrics will enlighten management to the real experienced benefits of a successful recognition program and what it can mean for the entire organisation.

5. Points budget utilisation:

Your program budget is a pre-determined amount per employee. These amounts (USD, British Pound, ZAR - depending on the geographic territory you find yourself in) will be rendered into the relevant recognition currency - points are the recommended currency for your recognition program.

As so often points have the ability to remove any monetary interpretation from your program. Your points can be measured through a metric called a redemption rate. And as such non-redemption of points must be a consideration when budgeting for a points-based program. Remember, not all points issued are used to redeem rewards. Different recognition partners also bill on either a points-issued or points-issued model so it is good practice to fully understand the cost implications and benefits of both points pricing models as well as its impact on your recognition budget.

The redemption rate will enable you to track your program’s performance by understanding whether or not points are being redeemed. If your program participants are actively engaged in your program you should see a rise in your redemption rate as a result.

This should also form a part of your assessment and analysis. It will allow you to better allocate funds and resources for different elements of the program going forward should it be needed.

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Interpreting all these metrics

Interpreting the data from your areas of measurement needn’t be difficult, but it is absolutely crucial to understanding where your program is currently positioned and what your recognition goals are.

If you are using recognition technology, such as bountiXP to help you collate all these metrics, then simply use your available dashboard to frequently keep yourself and all your managers up to date.

Key takeaways for effective measurement of your recognition program

So what do all these metrics have in common?

They are all used to determine the effectiveness of your program. Yes.

But what they also have in common is how your organisation can harness the measurement of data effectively to be able to quantify all of your organisation’s recognition efforts as well as determine the effects on turnover, retention, engagement and happiness that it may have had.

Accenture reported that the largest driver of employee disengagement was a lack of employee recognition, as cited by 43% of respondents!

That’s an astounding number. And you don’t need us to tell you what a disengaged workforce does to your bottom line either.

So what are companies like Zappos doing to overcome this disengagement crisis?

“Train people well enough so they can leave; treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” -Sir Richard Branson, Virgin founder

Zappos runs a number of activities to ensure their employees are always engaged. For example; they have the “Grant-a-wish” program which allows employees to suggest and grant wishes for fellow employees, from help with a website build all the way through to a co-worker looking for a tutor for their child.

An initiative like this allows employees to actively be recognised and rewarded for great work and motivates an increase in productivity.

Now we know how to measure our program, let’s head to how we can develop a communications strategy that won’t let us down.

Chapter 7:


Developing a communication plan

So you’ve been able to get through the heavily anticipated process of stakeholder buy-in, you’ve worked out how to measure your program as well as creating a brand identity for it.

Great, tick those bad boys off your recognition to-do list.

But, your next challenge awaits you in the area of communication. How are you going to strategically communicate and position your program toward your participants? We get it…

That’s why we’re writing this guide. So let’s dive into building an epic communication strategy for your brand:

Let’s first take a look at the various elements of a successful communication strategy;

  • Communicating program objectives and brand identity.
  • Communicating the recognition process.
  • Communicating whether there will be a launch or any events during this process.
  • Communicating if there are any technical tools participants would need to familiarise themselves with.
  • Communicate who the particular contact person/s would be for the program.

So how do we achieve this?

Depending on your choice of recognition program, whether it be peer-to-peer, top-down, formal or informal you need to ensure that communication is an essential tenant to your implementation process.

The goal with your communication plan should be to communicate the benefits of the program and set out the expectations of participation upfront. This kind of communication will help create awareness and interest in your upcoming program.

It’s important for your recognition program to align itself closely to your organisation’s core company values. This is always a great place to start. Your organisational values form the foundation of your company and the culture that you have subsequently created from that point...more on this in a bit.

Let’s take a look:

It’s time to develop your recognition program brand identity and guidelines.

The purpose behind creating a brand identity for your program is to ensure that it’s not something that’s easily forgotten.

Start by giving your program a name, you can be as creative as you like here; brainstorm a couple of names, have a logo designed, add the logo to any recognition technology like bountiXP that you may be using, place the logo on your internal emails and any other print you may need as a part of your communication strategy.

This is done to give your program a clearly defined identity that will ultimately create awareness, understanding, adoption and participation.

This brand identity will aid in creating the culture of recognition you’re aiming to achieve within your organisation. This program identity is meant to weave itself into the very culture of your organisation, so don’t skimp on this, its important.

Your organisation has overall company objectives, do you know what they are?

Once you’ve found out what they are, you need to make sure that your recognition program aligns directly with both the core values of the organisation as well as making sure that the program is not hindering the achievement of those high-level company objectives.

A successful recognition program will aid in achieving those objectives, through a highly engaged and productive workforce.

Piktochart is a great example of embodying their company values as a part of their recognition strategy.

They have a team that largely works remotely. They come together once a year to celebrate all their achievements and brainstorm new ideas for the upcoming year. As a part of this process, they adopt a recognition program called Hopeful Awards.

The word ‘Hopeful’ is an acronym for their company’s values; This is used to remind them where they came from and is used to guide them with decisions like who they bring onto their team and how they collaborate with each other and their clientele.

These values help align their recognition strategy as a part of that; the types of recognition received will be for exceptional teamwork, leadership skills or moments of humility.

This process of deeply understanding and embodying your core organisational values needs to inform your program identity and values. This will ensure that you are not creating a program that sits separately to your organisation, where very little overall value is created.

Communicate the program process:

So you know what the process is. That’s great.

Your participants don’t. There’s nothing worse than not knowing, the when and the how. So it’s time to change that.

As a part of your communications strategy, you’ll need to be sure to let your participants know when the program will start, define what behaviours and outcomes will be eligible for recognition and how this program aims to benefit them in the short-, medium- and long-term.

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So what are the different types of behaviours that could merit recognition?

  • Accomplishing a team or personal company goal.
  • Achieving an outstanding result; this could be exceptional client feedback on services rendered.
  • Demonstrating innovation, creativity and/or initiative.
  • Exceptional teamwork on a particular project.
  • Enhancing the levels of work quality.
  • Excelling at delivering the organisation’s mission.
  • Going the extra mile on a particular project, that resulted in great company outcomes.
  • Helping a coworker with a project that lies outside of usual responsibilities.
  • Always trying to improve levels of efficiency.
  • Always trying to increase levels of productivity.
  • Making exceptional contributions to the organisation.
  • Always providing exceptional customer service wherever he/she can.
  • Taking charge in leading a team without being asked by anyone.
  • Working extra hours (outside of set work hours).
  • Always striving to work hard.

There is obviously so much more that can be added to this list and tailored to suit your organisations industry. So please feel free to use this as a baseline.

The aim in communicating this is to paint a full picture for your participants. A full understanding of what’s expected will help to increase levels of program engagement.

Communicate how the program will be kicked off

You’ve provided valuable full picture insights to your program participants, but now it’s time to let them know just how you plan on kicking things off.

There are three areas of communication that are important to encouraging program participation:

  • Pre-launch communications - Communication at this stage should be structured around communicating your program goals and objectives, identifying who the recognition team will be and what the program timeline looks like.

    Pre-launch can even see the development of training manuals and guides for the select managers implementing the program.

    This helps to establish the expectations managers have and provides an avenue to voice any initial concerns or suggestions.

    What about the participants?

    Don’t worry we haven’t forgotten about them.

    Sending out informational newsletters and emails to program participants will assist in program interest. You might find that by gathering everybody together for a brief program introduction, where you can define some baseline understanding and really outline the value, would be a significant program promoter.

    TOP TIP: Don’t forget to communicate who the program go-to person is - you’ve selected a program leader. This person has indicated that they will be responsible for the effective implementation of the program. They should be fully aware of all the ins and outs of the program, should any participants have any questions or queries surrounding the program, its objectives or even about the software you will be using. They will be responsible for resolving any confusion.

  • Launch communications - Many organisations prefer to opt for a launch party announcing the official launch of the program.

    You could gather everybody into a central meeting place, ask a senior executive to prepare a launch speech to create some hype around your program.

    You will need to make sure every logistical element is communicated to your participants:

    • The Why - this will address the potential problems your organisation is wanting to overcome with a recognition program. This can be coupled with communicating the program values.
    • The Who - a reminder of who will be participating in this recognition program. You will also need to communicate who the go-to managers are for any questions or queries.
    • Tools - will a recognition platform be used to enhance the recognition program? Will there be training if a recognition platform is introduced? It should be easy to adopt, it should be easy to access for all users. These are some crucial features to consider when choosing recognition software.
  • Post-launch communications – Okay, so you’ve been successful in creating the hype in the build-up to your launch, you’ve thrown a pretty successful launch event, but now you need to be consistent in your communication efforts post-launch.

    What do we mean?

    The implementation, adoption and participation of your program needs to see you at the forefront.

    You need to ensure that your communication with participants as a manager is ongoing. They will need to be constantly reminded about the recognition program and its benefits for them.

    Maybe you’re fresh out of ideas in this department. Don’t worry. We’ve put together a short list of ways that recognition can be delivered;

  • Face-to-face - The purpose behind this method of recognition is for it to be captured in the exact moment that recognition occurs. It’s highly personal and expresses gratitude for a particular employee. You can also harness the power of technology and social media, you can take a selfie and post it to your recognition platform.

    TIP: Recognition does not only have to be outcomes based. You can and should recognise your employees for just being part of team. Remember recognition should always be human-centric.

  • Email - Emails are great for recognising a group of people who have achieved a great outcome, or for teams who work remotely or are in different regions to your organisation.

    We live in an ever-evolving digital space, so email is not your only go-to here. You could Skype or Zoom for a congratulatory conference celebration, this will feel like you’ve really gone the extra mile for your employee.

    Recognising your employees need not be boring. Set your organisation apart with your program by really encouraging your employees to strive for only the best!

  • Transactional communications - Cultivate opportunities for company-wide employee participation with strategic transactional communications to ensure individuals and teams are feel appreciated and inspired. Communicate, regularly to your employees any changes to the program to promote a culture of recognition.

    Recognition provides employees with perspective of the company’s goals so spread the word with concise and clear communication. It all starts in the design phase of your recognition program - so plan, plan, plan to get the recognition word to your people.

  • Scheduled Announcements - You can send announcements using email, WhatsApp, SMS, social media (Facebook & LinkedIn) to announce program developments or any competitions that may be coming.
  • Triggered communications - If technology is being used in your recognition program you will be able to customise communications with your participants based on their levels of activity and performance. This could be anything from a reminder or a valuable piece of information the participant may benefit from. The key to making this even better is to also harness personalisation as a strategy to enhance participation.
  • Events - Hosting events that promote your recognition program is a sure-fire way to get participants actively involved and engaged in your program. We touch on events and celebrations a little later, so hold tight.
  • Online platforms/Technology - If you’re using employee recognition software to enhance your recognition program, make sure you take charge in using it. If you need training on how to use a platform like bountiXP then you may consider booking a demo to make sure it will be used correctly. You may also want to identify recognition champions that will aid in the use and training of this recognition software.

    • Recognition software like bountiXP enables you to set up and schedule communications with your program participants, wherever they are.

  • Print - To promote continuous awareness of your program, consider putting posters up in lunchrooms and on bulletin boards your organisation may have.
Employers may also wish to include an explanation of the program’s rules and procedures in the orientation packs distributed to participants.

The ongoing communication strategy is to make sure you don’t lose any of the momentum you gained around the build up and launch of your program. Remember that creating a healthy corporate culture takes time and effort.

Take a look at our beloved Google: The former Senior Vice President of People Operations created what he called a “Wall of Happy”, where he decided to print out all the virtual thank you’s and personal notes that were sent and received using their online recognition platform. He stuck them on a sign board right outside his office for everyone to see.

This is super easy for you to implement as well, and you don’t even need software to get you started. You could place a board up in a central space in the office and place sticky notes and pens around that motivate employees to write notes of encouragement and praise towards excellent work.

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Communicate which tools will be used

Many bigger organisations will choose to use recognition technology to help them properly implement and streamline their program efforts. It’s a fast and immediate way of recognising employees on the spot for a job well done.

Your organisation will need to consider the budget and resources available to the implementation of your recognition program, before deciding on which technology you will be using.

There is a wide range of employee recognition software available to aid successful recognition implementation, such as bountiXP. They have a live interactive recognition dashboard, providing engagement and recognition results in real time.

bountiXP differentiates itself from most employee engagement and recognition technologies in that its very core focus is on the human aspect of employee recognition. They achieve this through their real-time recognition element which enables measurable behavioural change which ultimately drives those company results you’re also looking for.

We know that through effective recognition strategies, rewards and analytics, companies can lower their staff turnover, engage a diverse workforce and track measurable results.

What reward mix is the best fit for your organisation?

So you have decided which behaviours need to be recognised. These behaviours are closely aligned with your company’s core company values, but apart from just saying “thank you” or sending an email, how do you reward your employees?

You already have a predefined budget for your program, so deciding on your reward mix will be easy enough. Take a look at these ideas:

  • Intrinsic Rewards Day-to-day recognition that includes:
    • - verbal, written, electronic ‘thank you’
    • - Real-time peer-to-peer recognition
    • - Real-time manager-to-employee recognition
  • Manager’s discretion rewards that include:
    • - Flexible working hours
    • - Autonomy
    • - Learning and personal growth opportunities
  • Extrinsic Rewards Group Rewards that include:
    • - Quarterly and annual awards
    • - Celebrations
    • - Gala parties and events
    • - Teambuilding events
    • - Group travel
  • Individual rewards that include:
    • - Merchandise
    • - Gift cards
    • - Digital vouchers
    • - Experience rewards
    • - Points-based rewards
  • Gifts and tokens that include:
    • - Branded gifts
    • - Plaques
    • - Trophies
    • - Certificates

The rewards you offer can be as creative as you wish them to be. All you need to bear in mind is the person or people that you are rewarding are just that, they’re human, so don’t forget to personalise the reward experience.

There are companies dedicated to developing highly personalised rewards strategies based on your companies needs. Take a look at GET Rewards, they are a one-stop shop offering a full rewards suite that can also be tailored to your needs.

Chapter 8:

Recognition training

Recognition training

The main custodians in creating an environment of sustained recognition will be your managers.

Their awareness, ability and commitment to using recognition on an ongoing basis will determine the success of your recognition program.

Management training is therefore vital in getting any sort of recognition program successfully off the ground.

The kind of training that you provide your managers with will be dependent on the type of recognition program you plan on running; whether it be formal, informal or a top-down approach. You will also need to take into consideration the resources and budget that have been made available for the holistic implementation of your program.

Training will be both your responsibility and in part the responsibility of the managers that you’re training. You must provide the right resources as well as the perfect environment for the training needs of your managers.

For management training to be successful, you may want to consider the following:

  • Provide well-defined objectives - This is the foundation upon which your recognition program is built. That being said, your managers need to know and understand what the final desired outcomes of the program should be. In other words, what are the long-term goals of the organisation and what are the implications of these goals for employee development? You need to openly share this knowledge with your managers.
  • Look for learning opportunities in everyday activities - Was there a recognition opportunity in the past that managers may have missed out on? Or was there a time where recognition was given to great effect? Learn from these different events and highlight these instances to your managers.
  • Provide support - When your managers point out learning opportunities and allow them to take action on them if its deemed appropriate.

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So how should you train your managers?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to training and you may want to embrace a combination of the training techniques listed below, depending on how your managers prefer to do their learning.

Let’s unpack the various methods that you have available to you to train your managers:

  • On-the-job experiences: The day-to-day work environment is the perfect place to learn, as the interaction between managers and employees happens constantly.

    Encourage your managers to note recognition opportunities that they have taken advantage of in the past, as well as any that they may have missed out on. These examples can be shared with the other managers and provide the perfect opportunity to foster a discussion on areas that managers may be struggling with and how they can improve upon these.

  • Job aids: These can be given to managers to assist them in their recognition journey as giving recognition to employees may, at first, not come naturally after the initial training. Job aids will include but are not limited to manuals, checklists, best practice procedures, decision and workplace guidelines.
  • Peer-assisted learning: You should encourage your managers to team up with their peers with the aim of them helping each other out with different facets of the recognition program. Ideally, the managers should have an area of expertise that they could potentially help other managers out with.
  • Coaching and mentoring: Coaching and mentoring would refer to an arranged agreement between a senior manager or an executive and a manager who still needs guidance, feedback and reassurance as to how they are progressing with their training.
  • Courses, seminars and workshops: Formal training opportunities can be offered to your managers where a trainer or facilitator can be brought into your organisation to provide training sessions.
  • Self study: Training can be offered via e-Learning, where the manager can go through the learning material at their own pace.
  • Microlearning: This approach to learning is all about obtaining the right knowledge, at the right time, through the right delivery mechanism.

    It incorporates micro-moments of learning to drive improved job performance and development. This learning is delivered in rich media formats such as apps, video and even animation. It’s accessible through devices such as smartphones and tablets.

    This ease of use and access means that your employees have the opportunity to learn well, but also quickly in formats that are well suited to their needs.

  • Gamification -You can make learning and ongoing training fun. You can use quizzes and surveys to help management retain information.

Leadership and management recognition skills

We also need to look through the skills that leaders and managers should have to make them effective in the recognition process.

An effective leader should demonstrate the following skills:
  • Paying attention to people by using common courtesy. There is an inherent gap that exists between employees and managers, almost an “us vs them” mentality. Managers can help bridge this gap by learning to be courteous. Things such as saying “good morning”, asking people how their day is going or simply checking in with an employee to see how they are getting on with their daily work tasks can go a long way in building strong relationships and reinforcing recognition and appreciation in the workplace.
  • Listening to what your co-workers, peers and employees have to say. Managers will need to learn to give full attention to the person that’s seeking their attention on a particular idea or suggestion. The very nature of a manager is that they are busy, but if they can’t give time nor pay full attention at a particular moment, they should consider setting a time to meet up instead. Employees feel special when their ideas and opinions are taken into consideration. This is considered active recognition in the workplace.
  • Keeping commitments that have been made. While we are on the topic of setting a time to meet with employees, managers should make sure that all promises that are made are also kept. Employees get discouraged when a managers sets a time to meet but doesn’t follow through. This is often misinterpreted as the employee not being important enough for their manager to take seriously.
  • Managers should always use positive language in their interaction with others. Although “please” and “thank you” are the magic words; when it comes to recognition they just might not be enough. Powerful, positive recognition should be used. This will make an employee feel important and should reinforce positive behaviour in future. So instead of saying “Great job today” you will have a far greater impact if you were to use the phrase “That was a masterful presentation that you gave on quantum theory, Nate. We were very impressed!”.
  • Giving credit to employees in public. There are few things sadder than when managers take the credit for work that has been done by their employees. Managers need to give credit where credit is due and then heap on a little extra by intentionally looking for opportunities to reiterate the good work that was done. This could simply be by providing upward feedback to senior management about great work.

These are powerful, yet simple ways to make the people you employ feel valued and appreciated.

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Ongoing manager and employee induction and refreshers

Training cannot be a one-time event that only happens during the build up and initial launch of the recognition program. It should effectively only be the first step of a longer-term process.

Regular training is well worth the investment as building up recognition skills within the company keeps your employees more engaged, encouraging them to improve their productivity and quality of work.

An organised training plan will help provide more structure and will also allow managers to know what to expect.

Therefore, before you jump in headfirst, it may be important to take a step back and think about these key areas:

  • Skills – Make sure to take the time to understand what skills gaps may exist amongst your managers and from there you should determine the type of training that could fill these areas. Providing employees with recognition and thanks does not always come naturally to all managers, some managers prefer to focus on tasks and projects, while others see the value in building positive relationships.
  • Frequency – You should also consider the frequency of the training that you run. Training should be ongoing, but not necessarily constant. You should aim to hit the sweet spot, to strike a careful balance; making sure there is enough training, but not too much that your managers lose interest or struggle to keep up with their daily work tasks (outside of this program).
  • Delivery – What method of delivery will you use for your management training? The choice will be dependant on input you received from your managers around their preferred method of learning.

Ongoing training is a great way to determine where your managers’ weaknesses and strengths lie. It’s not only an opportunity to provide more information to managers but it’s also an opportunity to assess how your managers perceive and understand what’s expected of them.

Training your managers to effectively implement recognition will help them become better at coaching their teams to success and also successfully expand the reach of your recognition program.

The fact of the matter is anything new has to be reinforced several times before it becomes second nature.

So let’s be frank for a bit…

It’s a lot to expect your managers to retain and apply everything they learnt during the on-boarding training session. They will need to be reminded and knowledge will need to be refreshed (on an ongoing basis) especially if you’re dying to see those positive results.

Of course, in addition to reinforcing old skills, highlighting skills gaps and strengths, ongoing training also presents an opportunity to add a new skill set to your manager’s arsenal.

Sounds like a great idea to us. But hey, human-centred recognition is our kind of our game.

Chapter 9:

Events and celebrations as a part of your

recognition strategy

Events and celebrations as a part of your recognition strategy

We all love raising a glass, taking a moment to high-five someone or throw a punch of accomplishment in the air. The sweet smell of success and achievement is something every employee, manager and company owner can relate to.

It’s something we should all be striving for!

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Seeing we’re all in the same boat here; striving for success, how are these successes celebrated? And how does celebration fit into the objectives and structure of your overall recognition program?

Let’s take a look at the three elements that will form the backbone of your event and celebrations strategy:

1. Responsibility

You’ve assigned primary program owners - the people responsible for the implementation of your program. As a part of that responsibility, you may want to consider them for the ideation, planning and creativity for the events and celebrations element to your program.

When going through the process of selection, you’ll want to consider the best-fit person/people for the job. You’ll want to harness creativity and authenticity, as you’ll want your program participants to feel genuinely appreciated during the event or celebration.

So how do you select the right person for the job?

There will be certain characteristics you’ll be looking for in the person you bring on board with you.

So what are they?
  • You’re looking for creativity and energy around recognising and appreciating your employees.
  • You’re looking for someone with genuine care and concern for the human-centred aspect of appreciation.
  • You’re looking for someone who is organised and can multi-task.
  • You’re looking for someone who can keep up with industry trends.

These are only a few of the elements of the type of person you’ll want assisting you in the events and celebrations of employee recognition and appreciation.

2. Resources

So what resources have been made available to the celebration of employee recognition and appreciation within your organisation?

If you don’t know, you need to find out.

You need to plan an event and celebration calendar to make sure you keep up your program momentum up.

How exactly do you do that?

Well, It’s going to require a little bit of time and research on your behalf. You’ll need to do some research on the types of events and celebrations that should not be missed by your recognition program.

Such as:
  • International Fun at Work Day
  • Employee Appreciation Day
  • Volunteer Recognition Day
  • Say Something Nice Day
  • World Handshake Day

These are only a few examples of the kinds of events you can include in your recognition calendar. This kind of forward thinking and strategic planning will ensure that you never lose the momentum you gain after the launch of your program.

The key will be to put some real time into this. You will want to make sure that it's highly personalised and contextual to your employees and organisation. It will also need to be specific to the country that you’re operating in. South Africa’s calendar of events will look differently to that of the United Kingdom or the USA.

The flip to that is making sure to organise special events, maybe every quarter, so roughly, four of these can be hosted in a year leading towards the year-end top event.

These special events can be things like awards celebrations, where you really make the effort of celebrating excellent performance by employees on a quarterly basis.

This requires a fair amount of event coordination and planning. You will need to;

  • Set your event objectives.
  • Find a suitable location to host your event.
  • Determine who will be invited:
    • Managers
    • Department heads
    • Executives
    • Friends and family
  • Determine who exactly will be receiving the awards and why they will be receiving them. It is important that these awards are tied to your programs objectives and overall company values.
  • Select appropriate awards that will be presented to each recipient.
  • Prepare an event agenda.
  • Approach keynote speakers and an MC for the evening.
  • Post event communications; announcement in newsletters or bulletin boards, to ensure ongoing recognition of your employees for outstanding performance.

TIP - Don’t forget to send out personalised thank-you notes to all attendees and contributors, but also to any executives that were able to make the event. Appreciation, as we know goes a long way in the motivation of your program.

As a part of your planning process, don’t forget to track all people who were invited against those who actually attended. You will need to record all your event costs from the venue to the cost of food and drinks etc. and any other data that you would like to add in order to showcase the success of your event.

3. History and documentation

So you’ve hosted your event, and it was no doubt a raging success. But what happens now?

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We’ve already touched on some post-event items, but let’s spend some time delving a bit deeper;

You will have hired a photographer and/or videographer, and followed up on when you will be receiving those images/ videos. Once you do you need to make them easily accessible for all the event attendees.

You can also spend some time designing and writing a newsletter mailer that will update the rest of the organisation on the event and the various award winners. You can select a few images to include in the newsletter.

If you had a videographer at your event and you’ve received some great footage, why not sign up for a company YouTube account, where you can place some of those videos? You can also spend some time embedding them into an internal company mailer or webpage.

So what other post-event recognition opportunities are there?

Images should be put up on your bulletin boards. These images can be changed every quarter with new event images. If you are using an employee recognition platform like bountiXP you have the option of loading event information and company wide messages to the platform. This provides a central place for messages to be dispersed.

How do you harness a variety of employee recognition opportunities through the avenue of an event or celebration?

3 types of events that could be celebrated by your organisation:

The key here is to harness creativity and uniqueness to provide meaningful experiences that make your employees feel appreciated. You will need to accurately track levels of participation and the overall experience of the events hosted. This needs to be done in order to provide you with a strategy for continuous improvement.

  • Work anniversaries - A work anniversary definitely needs to be celebrated. Your employees have placed mounds of time and effort into making their time at your organisation as successful as can be.

    So how do you celebrate them and their time spent with you?

    We’re not really expecting you to have an answer, you could just skip this section then ;)

    You don’t have to make a major event out of this, but recognising an employee on the date that they were hired and why you’re grateful to them for all their time will go a long way.

    • You could write a short note, saying happy work anniversary and why you appreciate them and their dedicated time to your organisation.
    • You could gift them with a voucher or an appropriate gift depending on the length of time the employee has been with your organisation. Your gift for an employee who has been with you for one year should look differently to someone who's been with you for 10 years.

    Groupon celebrates employees Grouponiversarys by presenting them with a top of the range bright green Adidas jacket. Employees are also able to personalise their jacket with a nickname. They also get star patches sewn on for each year that they’re at the company. This has helped create a sense of team and builds toward a positive company culture.

    The sky’s the limit here, let your creativity get the best of you.

    Your guiding principle is to always remember that you are recognising a highly-valued “human” employee, so make the effort to make it special.

  • Organisational milestones - You need to make time to celebrate your organisation’s milestones. Whether you celebrate a 10-year anniversary or a sales turnover that’s never been achieved before. It’s important to acknowledge the achievements of the organisation.

    You can absolutely organise a company-wide event with dinner and keynote speakers just congratulating everyone for all the efforts they’ve put into building something epic. It may be worthwhile putting up a plaque in a central place of your building, to act as a reminder and to show off your organisations achievements.

  • Birthdays - A cake, a brunch, a lunch, a dinner, balloons, a voucher, a card - you could pick any form of gift so long as your ultimate goal is to recognise the employee whose birthday it is.

    If you pick a cake, make sure his/her name is on it, get everyone together to sing happy birthday - get everybody to sign a birthday card. But here’s the twist, you have to write something genuine about your employee, not just sign your name.

    The goal with this is to show genuine care, excitement and celebration with your employee on their special day. These celebrations aid the success and ongoing implementation of your recognition program. Your organisation’s celebrations and events are meant to reinforce positive behaviours, boost morale and increase productivity with an ultimate positive impact on company results. But…

    Celebrations need to be used as a strategic element of your entire recognition program and not used in isolation of what happens in the office on a day-to-day basis.

    It is a basic human need to feel appreciated and respected for a job well done. Recognising this at quarterly or annual events may not be enough to give your company the engagement and culture boost it needs.

    Make sure that all your recognition and appreciation efforts are ongoing and genuine.

Chapter 10:

Program change and flexibility

Program change and flexibility

Workplaces change. People change. Companies change. So what good is building a recognition program, if it doesn’t accommodate the changes every workplace experiences?

Recognition programs are changing, to match the demands of our changing workspaces.

Gone are the days of traditional, physical rewards like a shiny gold watch on your five-year work anniversary. In fact, Bersin by Deloitte found that tenure based recognition and rewards actually had no effect on organisational performance and did very little to improve staff retention.

Today’s workforce demands ‘moment-centric’ micro-recognition that everyone in their department or company can share in.

Think of your Facebook feed. Linda could have shared that last photo of her pet Labrador in a private message to her loved ones, but no, she shared it on Facebook to all 500 of her friends to get as many likes and comments as possible.

The onus of recognition no longer sits solely on the shoulders of leaders and managers within an organisation. Instead, everyone is now expected to be involved. Adapting and changing recognition programs to match the demands of your company and it’s employees future, needs the understanding that recognition platforms are required to constantly undergo change.

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Evolving your program

The art of recognising your employees is more of a marathon than a sprint. In order to win the race at the end, companies should be setting themselves up to improve mile upon mile.

A key consideration to any program change should always be employee feedback. Married with the data that you’re able to glean from reports and analytics of the programs being used and their effectiveness, should dictate where changes are required and how often.

You should never stop evaluating the effectiveness of your program. Ask yourself:

  • What are the goals of the program today vs when it started?
  • How are your employees engaging with the program?
  • What are the obvious improvements needed?
  • Does it still align with the company goals of your company?

Company goals should never be ignored in your recognition program. The sales division of a major corporate company, looking for rapid expansion into the African market, for example, might decide to include a recognition method specifically for new sales into Africa, encouraging and engaging staff to focus on a key area for the company.

The other key factor to consider on a constant basis is exactly what you deem worthy of recognition. We touched on some of these behavioural indicators earlier on, but maybe they’ve changed based on how your employees have interacted within your program.

Consider what impacts an employee’s emotional state of mind and consider acknowledging behaviours tied to your company culture and values, like:

  • Promote healthy competition between teams or departments.
  • Make time for knowledge sharing between teams.
  • Acknowledge and appreciate innovative ideas or methods.
  • Acknowledge any learning milestones among your employees.
  • Promote internal collaboration.

After all, all of these behaviours are directly related to significant moments within your company, like new sales, awards or project launches. Companies are looking to consistently deliver an impact in their respective markets, and that’s exactly what your recognition program should provide for your employees.

Management’s review

According to Gallup, recognition programs work best when senior leadership within a company is actively involved in the recognition program itself, and it’s results. Whilst peer-to-peer recognition is on the rise internationally, the key to maintaining the success of a recognition program remains the buy-in from management.

The added bonus of involvement from management in the recognition program means they will be able to interpret the results of the program far better.

Traditionally the success of a program is based on employee retention rates and any noticeable improvements to a company’s bottom line. Those measurements, however, often take time to reflect and be evaluated.

There are tools and techniques to measure the effectiveness of a program in real time, providing comprehensive views into the likes of:

  • The types of recognition being provided.
  • The frequency of recognition being given.
  • Identify which staff are being recognised the most (the high performers).
  • Identify the level of engagement with the recognition program itself.

All of which provide the metrics to calculate what management is often concerned with most; the ROI of the program.

The simplest, and often most effective manner in determining the results of a recognition program, however, is simply to ask. Naturally, you can ask around the office verbally. Free online survey tools such as Survey Monkey or Google forms, however, are easy, quick and cost-effective ways for management to judge the reaction to a program simply and anonymously.

Improve - Constantly and consistently

Programs are seldom able to evolve without effective communication.

The trick to effective communication is that it doesn’t work when it’s one-sided, and neither can your recognition program be. During the lifetime of your company’s recognition program, the conversation around recognition itself can’t come to an end.

SHRM believes that the average US company has a staff turnover rate of 19% each year. Deloitte believes that as much as 76% of the millennials occupying South African workspaces plan on leaving their employees before 2020.

Taking time to digest these figures highlights the need for communication around recognition in your company to be more than one sideed, or you risk losing valuable talent and gaining new employees who don’t understand what it takes to make your program and company as a whole successful.

So how do you communicate the changes, and importance of your recognition program?


Don’t just rely on the traditional company newsletter that few people read. Involve key stakeholders within your company to communicate the changes you’re making to your program, the behaviour management has noticed and why the program is important in the long term.

You’re likely to receive more regular and useful feedback that way too!

So how do you manage and implement the consistent change to your program?

Well, have you ever heard of Agile Project Management?

The concept is not limited to developer teams. In fact, it’s incredibly useful to manage the change and improvement of a recognition program. Short cycles of development for recognitions methods and layers, punctuated by short periods of review will allow your company to deliver constant and effective improvements to your program, as the needs of your company and your staff change.

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So let’s tie it all together

The effective construction of your recognition program lies within your strategy, your planning and your level of effective communication and structure implementation. So let’s take a quick look at what we’ve covered:

  • We’ve defined your company’s needs through a holistic assessment process and we’ve defined why you want to implement a recognition program within your company.
  • We’ve defined what you want to achieve from a recognition program.
  • We’ve established strategic goals for your program along with the measures in order to prove the effectivity and ROI of your program.
  • We’ve determined what the program investment upfront should be.
  • We’ve conceptualised awards and rewards offerings for a multi-generational workforce.
  • We’ve established the roles and responsibilities along with a detailed scope of work of your recognition team.
  • We’ve established effective program measurement metrics.
  • We’ve strategised around your communications, rewards around your pre-launch, launch and post-launch, announcing responsible managers and what (if any) tools and technology that you may be using to aid in the implementation of your program.
  • We’ve established effective recognition training methods for your managers.
  • We’ve established that the events and celebrations you’ll host during the course of your recognition program will aid with successful program implementation.
  • We’ve made room for program change, flexibility and implemented a process of continuous improvement.

Don’t forget to revise and optimise your program on an ongoing basis to incorporate the changing needs of your company.

Technology is enabling the world to move faster and as a result companies are innovating at rapid rates. The demands for seamless customer experiences are yearning to be met. We have never needed our employees more.

bountiXP can help you implement a values-based social recognition and reward program that brings your employees together to unlock real value for your company.


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