Employee Recognition is any form of thanks or acknowledgment given to an employee in relation to good performances. This can be either in the form of a financial bonus such as cash, vouchers or additional holiday days, or in the form of non-financial recognition such as an acknowledgement by senior managers or a “Thank You” displayed on a board or website. The recognition could be as a result of improved or consistently high performance or through going above and beyond on a particular occasion.
For best results, Employee recognition programs should be run concurrently with existing employee appraisal policies and not in lieu of them. Unlike most employee appraisals which are usually scheduled in advance, ER provides a platform for virtually instant praise. This means that good practices and performances will be encouraged while they are in progress rather than months after they may have ceased.
Non-Financial recognition programs are often an affordable means to encourage employee behaviour and help to improve engagement within a company. By giving increased visibility to employees who are performing well it helps them feel as though they are making an impact and has been seen to increase average tenures and attrition rates among younger workers.
When ER programs are extended to include interdepartmental recognition and colleague recognition rather than simple Manager to Employee recognition there is an improvement in morale and collaboration among staff.
-Doug Conant, Fmr. President and CEO of the Campbell Soup Company
Employee recognition can take many forms and it can be adapted to fit the size and structure of your organisation. By adopting a tiered approach you can quantify the recognition based on the accomplishment, for example, If someone has helped their colleague finish a project in time then that could be recognized at a low level and be shared within their own department, if someone is celebrating 20 years with the company then it should be recognised and shared to senior leadership so they can be commended at a higher level.
This flexibility may allow for subjectivity and with that comes the risk of people feeling underappreciated when compared to their contemporaries in departments with more generous recognition.
As mentioned earlier, Employee Recognition should not be seen as a replacement for the standard appraisal system but rather a supplementary system which is more reactive about recognising exceptional performance and good employee behaviour. Although the temptation to have a strictly non-financial ER program may seem tempting to cash conscious businesses there has been evidence to suggest that if there are no tangible benefits to being recognized within an ER program then it could begin to have an adverse effect.