Employee Recognition

Your guide to developing goals and objectives for your recognition program

Developing goals and objectives that clearly define the expected outcomes is the first step in launching any new initiative.

The same applies when you are trying to launch an employee recognition program with the added incentive of increased organisational performance.

Research shows that organisations with well-established employee recognition programs are 12 times more likely to have strong company outcomes.

Recognition programTaking the time required to clearly define and communicate your goals and objectives is a strategic imperative if you want to successfully implement your recognition program.

According to a study by Kaplan and Norton:

  1. 9 of 10 companies fail to execute strategy
  2. Only 25% of managers have incentives linked to strategy
  3. Only 5% of the workforce understand the strategy
  4. 85% of executive teams spend less than one hour per month discussing strategy
  5. 60% of organisation don’t link budgets to strategy

Establishing goals and objectives can help you overcome these implementation challenges by providing guidance and direction for decision making, facilitating planning, motivating and inspiring employees, as well as helping organisations evaluate and control performance.

In this blog, we will establish the criteria for goals and objectives, define the process of developing goals and objectives for your recognition program, and discuss how to implement them.



Goals and objectives should be S.M.A.R.T. In other words, they should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these:

  • Specific - Goals should be well-defined, detailed, focused, straight-forward, and actionable.

    For your employee recognition program, your goal might be to improve customer satisfaction, reduce employee turnover, or improve the productivity of a specific team or department.

    Once you have decided, answer the six "W" questions:

    Who: Who is involved?

    What: What do I want to accomplish?

    Where: Identify a location.

    When: Establish a time frame.

    Which: Identify requirements and constraints.

    Why: Specify reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.

  • Measurable - For goals and objectives to be measurable you need to identify a metric that will determine whether it has been achieved or not.   

    This metric can take a number of forms from a specific customer satisfaction rating to a percentage reduction in employee turnover.

    Your chosen metric needs to provide tangible evidence that the goal has been accomplished or that progress has been made towards its completion.

  • Attainable - Goals and objectives should be achievable and realistic but they should still challenge employees.

    For recognition programs, it would be unrealistic to expect to double employee productivity in the first month but you could possibly see a 25% improvement in the first year.

    For goals and objectives to be attainable you need to consider the time-frame, resources, and actions required in order to achieve the desired outcomes.

  • Relevant - The goals and objectives of your recognition program should align with the vision and mission of your organisation.

  • Timely - Your goals and objectives should have a date by which they should be achieved.

    For an ongoing recognition program, this means establishing timelines by which to achieve milestones. An example of this might be to launch by a specific date or dates by which to achieve target results.

How to develop your goals and objectives:

Employee recognition programs are essential to the performance of employees throughout an organisation. A central tenant to establishing a successful recognition program are its goals and objectives.

They direct efforts towards activities that help the achievement of those goals. They also focus effort and energise teams and employees by providing a yardstick against which their work can be measured.

There are 5 steps in developing goals and objectives:


1. Build a team

recognition programThe first step is to establish a team of stakeholders to develop the goals. Diversity is important to make sure the recognition program meets the needs of employees in different departments and at different levels of the organisation.


2. Be S.M.A.R.T

The next step is to define the goals and objectives of your recognition program. Make sure they comply with the S.M.A.R.T criteria. Clearly defined goals and objectives reduce the risk of ambiguity and ensures that employees know what they can expect.

You might consider focusing on achieving these objectives:

  • Increase employee morale
  • Increase productivity
  • Increase positive employee commitment and loyalty
  • Decrease turnover and increase retention of mid to high performers


3. Communicate clearly

The goals and objectives of your recognition program should be communicated clearly throughout your organisation. This is essential to create employee participation in the program and align efforts with the targeted outcomes.

There are a couple of best practices you can apply to make your communication effective:

  • Create a clear, consistent message with the appropriate level of information,
  • Be open and honest about what you are trying to achieve,
  • Use an authentic tone,
  • Be passionate about the problems you are trying to solve,
  • Align your efforts with the values of your organisation.


4. Repeat yourself

The concept of repetition isn’t new. Parents use it, teachers use it, and so do advertisers. The concept of effective frequency is the number of times a person must be exposed to a message before a response is made and before exposure is considered wasteful.

Repetition is essential to keep your goals and objectives relevant and top of mind so make it part of your meetings, strategy sessions, and any employee engagement activities.


5. Keep track

Monitoring your progress is an essential part of developing your goals and objectives and provides a number of benefits:

  • Solve problems before they worsen,
  • Create transparency,
  • Create opportunities for improvement,
  • Identify trends.


Developing goals and objectives for your recognition program is an essential step to launching a successful initiative.

They should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely if they are going to be effective yardsticks for the success of your program.

Throughout the process of developing them make sure you engage employees at various levels of your organisation and align them with the values and mission of your organisation.

employee recognition