10 Reasons Why Your Employee Recognition Program Doesn’t Work

January 31, 2018
employee recognition program, employee rewards, employee recognition

According to a 2013 World at Work survey, 88% of organizations have some type of employee recognition program in place. But not all their programs are working. Research has proven that having an Employee Recognition program gives noticeable benefits for its company – for both employee loyalty and performance. Not all programs are created equal since every company is different and has needs for a specific employee recognition program that works for them. 

If you’ve implemented an employee recognition program and are not seeing the results you expected, here are 10 reasons why your employee recognition may not be working.

1. Milestone awards have nothing to do with performance or productivity.

Milestone awards that recognize employees for 10, 15 or 25 years of service can be a fine program if it is not the only program you have in place. This is because a long tenure with the company has nothing to do with an employee’s actual performance over the years. 

2. Recognition does not happen once a year, but throughout the year.

It is easier for companies to award employees at an annual ceremony, allowing them to get it out of the way all at once.  However, the problem with this is that it loses effect. If an employee does something great during the year, recognize them immediately so they know what they are being appreciated for!

3. The awards your company offers do not fit your workforce.

No two workforces are alike. Therefore, it is a mistake to think that any recognition program will resonate. For an optimal program, make sure there are incentives that appeal to all of your workers!

4. Your recognition program doesn’t have a peer-to-peer element.

Studies have shown that one of the most effective employee recognition programs is one in which employees recognize their peers for their achievements. Not having a program in place for this is a mistake since the best form of motivation at work comes from coworkers.

5. Management does not follow through.

Putting a robust employee recognition program in place is a great start, but equally important to making sure management follows through with it, especially during busy times of the business when it is easy to let the program slide. It is important that you continue to recognize high performance among employees to let them know you value their input.

6. Employees feel their awards are unattainable.

If you have a program that recognizes one employee per month yet awards the same employee multiple times throughout the year, then most of your workers will feel as though favoritism is playing a role. Be sure your program gives each employee an equal opportunity for recognition. 

7. Management doesn’t ask employees for feedback on the program.

The best way to implement an employee recognition program that motivates your employees is to ensure the program you choose actually effects them. Make sure to always ask for feedback to guarantee your recognition program is working for your employees.

8. Employee recognition programs are not measured for success.

For every decision you make in business, it is important to understand the results you expect won’t always be the results you achieve. For maximum effect, you want to have a way to measure the program’s success, allowing you to make alterations if things aren’t working. 

9. Recognition focuses entirely on performance and not effort or character.

Improving the bottom line is important and employees who have high performance should always be recognized. However, it is also important to recognize those who may not have directly improved the bottom line, but their good character and hard work contribute to a more productive workforce.  

10. Recognition is a standard organization practice, not personal appreciation.

If your employees view your recognition program as something the top level management hands out periodically without specific reason, it will significantly decrease its effectiveness. Employees want to know that the recognition they receive is personal and that their hard work and performance has truly been appreciated. 

Thinking of implementing an employee recognition program, or need help improving the one you already have? Contact Williams Recognition today to discuss your organization, we are one of the leading providers of employee recognition programs in Canada. We offer multiple types of programs, including Peer-to-Peer and Points and Sales Incentive programs that can be customized to meet your organization’s needs.  

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