IceHrm Looking for an HR software for Your Company?
Masha Masha is a content developer at IceHrm. You can contact her at masha[at]

Unlocking Success: 6 Employee Recognition Strategies & Advantages

  Reading Time:

Companies use employee recognition as a strategy to improve morale, increase employee retention, and reward employees for their hard work. There are a number of employee recognition best practices that can improve the effectiveness of your employee recognition strategies. Let's explore the benefits of employee recognition and how you can best use your resources to show your employees how important they are to you.

What is employee recognition?

Employee recognition is any activity or strategy that employers use to express their appreciation for their employees. Employers invest time and resources in recognizing their employees because it pays off in the form of employee retention, well-being and productivity.

Employee recognition is worth investing in as it is beneficial for both employees and the company as a whole. It creates a tangible sense of meritocracy and a belief that hard work will be rewarded financially and professionally. It allows employers to foster a positive, supportive work culture - something that is notoriously difficult for employers to control in a typical, hierarchical corporate structure. When done well, it can make employees feel like their employer truly cares about them, not just as an employee, but as an individual. In short, employee recognition can be the key to unlocking inaccessible or hard-to-reach areas of HR management.

Types of employee recognition

There are many different types of employee recognition, and for your employee recognition programs to be most effective, the right method should ideally be tailored to the needs, interests and preferences of each individual employee. These types of employee recognition come at different costs to the company, both financially and in terms of hours worked. Employee recognition best practices are not limited to those listed below, but here are the most common types.

Praise or exclamations

For many of us, words of affirmation are the primary way we want to be cared for by others. According to Glassdoor's Employee Appreciation Survey, 81% of respondents said they would work harder if they received recognition for their hard work. Even if we don't get the recognition ourselves, it's a mood booster when we see our colleagues being praised for their hard work. Praise fulfills another valuable function in the workplace: it helps employees understand their employer's expectations and thus find their way around the workplace better. While rules and employee handbooks may be the technical guidelines for employee behavior, the reality is that every work culture has its own unspoken expectations and idiosyncrasies. Feedback of any kind, especially praise for specific achievements, is helpful for employees who find themselves in this gray area.

Additional vacation days

Even at companies that offer so-called "unlimited" vacation days, employees tend to value and carefully guard their days off. After all, most of us spend the majority of our waking hours either commuting or at work. Vacation days, even if they are spent at the dentist or just relaxing at home, are a huge benefit and crucial to employee well-being. So why not recognize employees’ hard work and reward them with extra vacation days? In contrast to other forms of employee recognition, such as: B. material gifts, the reward of additional vacation is overwhelmingly accepted and is an effective employee recognition tool.

Company benefits

If additional vacation is not possible for financial reasons, there are many other benefits that may be more cost-effective. This category includes free and low-cost services that a company can offer to make an employee's day-to-day work more pleasant. A company perk could be, for example, a first-class parking space, free meals in the cafeteria or an extended lunch break. It could also mean having time for a one-on-one lunch with the CEO or an office with a nice view. Perks like these often seem to be distributed hierarchically, with no regard for the efforts and hard work of employees. So tying them to specific employee behaviors or performance can help dispel the perception of unfairness that sometimes arises when it comes to perks for the company.

Bonuses or one-time cash gifts

Money, in the form of bonuses or one-time financial gifts, can be an extremely effective method of employee recognition. Unexpected financial rewards feel rare and special, and most people can use a little extra money every now and then. It's hard to go wrong with this method because employees can spend the money from their bonus however they want or need. The biggest disadvantage of giving cash gifts is the tax liability that comes with them (with a few exceptions).

Gifts in kind

Non-cash gifts are one of the most common types of employee recognition. This category includes everything from subscriptions to nice meals to fancy jackets embroidered with the company logo. Finding the right type of gift for an employee can be difficult because there is no one size fits all when it comes to employees' interests and personal lives. Choosing the right employee recognition gift requires forethought, care and knowledge of the employee's interests.

Charitable donations

An employer may choose to make a donation to a charitable organization of their choice as a form of employee recognition. While this is less common because it doesn't provide any tangible, personal benefit to the employee, it's still a good way for companies to give back to their community. By giving your employees the choice of where to donate money, you show that you recognize and respect their beliefs and the causes that are important to them. You can also make a larger donation on behalf of an entire team you want to recognize, giving members of that team the opportunity to decide together where to donate the money.

Benefits of employee recognition

Employee recognition, especially when used broadly and intentionally, can have benefits for individuals throughout the organization. Companies also benefit when their employees feel valued and are happier at work. Here are some of the top benefits of employee recognition.

  • It provides positive reinforcement for culture-promoting behaviors. Building a healthy, supportive work culture is notoriously difficult. Although HR managers and managers try to shape workplace culture from the top down, culture is actually a combination of daily interactions and internal messages. Rewarding behavior that aligns with company values is a great strategy for building a positive culture.
  • It can reduce burnout. Burnout is a highly complex problem with many causes, but strong employee recognition programs can help reduce workplace burnout.
  • They prevent employee turnover. 57% of employees who quit in 2021 cited feeling disrespected in the workplace as one of the reasons for quitting. While there is no magic formula for avoiding disagreements in the workplace, creating a culture of support, positivity and respect through employee recognition can promote positive, uplifting interpersonal relationships in the workplace.
  • It can improve employee satisfaction and well-being. HR leaders know firsthand the impact programs can have on employee well-being and retention. In a survey conducted by SHRM, 82% of human resources managers said employee recognition has a positive impact on employee satisfaction. Even more said it improved employee relationships (87%) and employee experiences (89%).
  • It improves employee engagement and performance. A Deloitte study found that companies with employee recognition programs have 14% higher employee engagement and productivity than companies without such programs.

Best practices for employee recognition

1.Communicate clearly.

Good communication is key to getting the most value from employee rewards. When giving an employee a reward, you should thank them for their hard work and acknowledge the behavior that triggered the reward. For example: Thank you for your hard work during the Albany Project, Jackson. Without your leadership skills and optimistic attitude, it would not have been as successful. We appreciate you very much!

2.Prioritize employee experience.

Employee experiences should be the focus of recognition programs - after all, their experiences are the reason these programs exist in the first place. Ask yourself: What type of reward would mean the most to this particular employee? What do I know that they enjoy? How can I convey my gratitude in a way they will appreciate?

If possible, let employees decide what type of reward they will receive as part of the recognition program. The feeling of making decisions for ourselves can be a liberating reward, especially at work, where we often feel overwhelmed by external forces.

3.Avoid bias.

A good employee recognition program gives managers at all levels the opportunity to reward the performance and behavior of their team members. However, this carries some risks: without training and supervision, some of them could distribute rewards in a way that is influenced by their implicit or explicit biases. Not only is this unfair and potentially a breach of compliance regulations, it also undermines the benefits that employee recognition programs can bring. Employees have a keen eye for nepotism and bias in the workplace. Bias in employee recognition programs cannot be tolerated, which is why we also recommend that you...

4.Training of managers and executives.

Training that helps managers overcome unconscious bias is critical to running a fair employee recognition program. The same goes for training managers on the behaviors and values that the company as a whole wants to see rewarded. A consistent recognition practice helps employees better understand which behaviors are rewarded and which are not.

5.Track progress and results.

Success and progress criteria should be established for each initiative. Many companies use internal surveys to determine how employees respond to various company initiatives.

Sometimes managers get caught up in daily tasks and miss opportunities to support and recognize employees. IceHrm's rewards and recognition platform allows employers to track rewards awarded and received to promote consistency within an organization. It also provides data on which rewards employees choose most often, so you know which types of rewards are most effective for your employees.

6.Think outside the box.

There is no reason to stick to the usual conventions of employee recognition and gifting. Just because annual bonuses are the norm doesn't mean an unexpected special bonus can't be effective at another time of the year. Some employees find a charitable donation in their name to be more meaningful than a material gift. A Deloitte survey found that 75% of people are happy with a simple thank you as a reward for their hard work, but also that a proportion of women prefer to receive a written thank you (perhaps as a result of pervasive discrimination against women are still exposed at work). And as always, the key to success is to be guided by employee preferences.

Well-designed recognition programs can increase employee well-being, reduce turnover and prevent burnout. Use these six key employee recognition best practices to make your recognition program consistent, inclusive and effective.

Investing in employee recognition pays dividends in retention, engagement, and well-being. IceHrm offers tools to streamline recognition efforts. Let's empower our workforce together!

How to Prepare for A Human Resources Interview

Preparing for a human resources interview can be a daunting task. To help you succeed, we’ve gathered five insightful tips from professionals like Career Coaches and CEOs....

Unveiling Brand Champions: Identifying and Nurturing Advocates

Discover the power of brand champions! These enthusiastic employees and loyal customers embody your brand's values, driving growth and loyalty....

IceHrm   Create your IceHrm, installation today.