Create an Employee Recognition Program That Works



Most companies have some form of employee recognition. Few have a strategy that’s effective. In order to create a recognition program that actually works, you need to be intentional with both your objectives and reward offerings. 

Follow these tips to create an employee recognition program that reduces attrition and improves organizational morale.

Know the Types of Recognition

Before you can create an effective recognition program, you need to decide what types of recognition you want to include. There are three well-known ways to show appreciation - the most effective programs utilize all three.

Types of employee recognition:

  • Monetary/Product - Monetary recognition programs tie the achievement of goals or the identification of excellent performance to a payout of money or gifts.
  • Non-Monetary - Like monetary recognition, these rewards are based on achievement of goals and performance, however, the rewards are perks. Examples include flexible work arrangements, professional development, and reserved parking.
  • Social recognition - This is an external or internal recognition of an employee’s achievements or goal-meeting. This includes internal memos, social media posts, or posts in company communication tools.

Related Content: Types of Employee Recognition Programs

Make it a Part of Your DEI Initiatives

Your recognition program should go hand-in-hand with your DEI initiatives. At its core, any DEI program is the acknowledgment and confrontation of biases, inequality, and inequity - and one of the areas in which all three are often present is recognition within an organization. Ensuring that your company’s qualifications for recognition are designed for everyone is an important step to putting DEI initiatives into action.

Related Content: Why Employee Recognition Should Be Part of Your DEI Program

Set Clear Objectives

It’s important to set clear objectives and goals with your recognition program, beyond the vague intention to “make employees happier.” Since recognition programs often deal with the intangible nature of human emotions, these don’t necessarily have to be KPIs tied to numbers or percentages. Some examples include:

  • Reduce employee attrition
  • Promote [value] (e.g., wellness, mental health, DEI)
  • Retain top talent
  • Increase employee engagement
  • Improve trust among employees

Your recognition program may have several objectives or it may have one clear objective. Either way, it’s important to identify these and share them with the team.

Allocate Training 

When launching a new recognition program, leadership often first focuses on the budget needed. Arguably more important is the training needed. Only one-third of companies are training employees on how, when, and why to recognize peers. If employees aren’t clear on how your recognition program works, then it won’t be effective.

Be prepared to spend time training and re-training on the program. If you have monthly or weekly recurring meetings, that’s an excellent opportunity to set aside some time to routinely cover potential updates and show appreciation. 

Creating an effective recognition program doesn’t have to be difficult - but it does have to be intentional. Use these tips to create a plan that will engage employees and boost morale with those you work with.

Employee Recognition with QRG

Our meaningful recognition solutions can help strengthen connections between employees and employers which creates a strong sense of community, leading to increased satisfaction and loyalty. Check out QRG’s recognition and retention solutions and contact an account executive for help starting a program at your company.


QRG is a customer-driven, single-source commercial printer, branded merchandise agency, and direct marketing firm tailored to meet your business goals. Our corporate identity solutions create deep connections with a lasting impact on your audience. Learn more about how it works and check out our website for more information.

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