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The Fundamentals of Employee Recognition Programs

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  • 0:03 Recognizing Employees
  • 0:35 Employee Recognition Programs
  • 5:05 More Than Morale & Milestones
  • 5:54 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rachel Shipley

Rachel has worked with several businesses developing policies on customer experience and administration.

In this lesson, you'll learn about employee recognition programs. You'll discover what factors should be taken into consideration when putting one together, including the total number of employees and the total amount of money allocated, among other things.

Recognizing Employees

Everyone gets a car! Oprah Winfrey really knows how to do a giveaway: she's famous for her 'Oprah's Favorite Things,' where she gives away her favorite things of the year. Oprah's favorite things can be anything from noteworthy hair care products to computer tablets to cars.

Employee recognition programs are a bit different; you won't be giving away cars any time soon, but setting up the right recognition programs for your employees will help motivate them and boost morale. Let's take a deeper look into what factors to consider when creating an employee recognition program.

Employee Recognition Programs

When you develop employee recognition programs they should be meaningful, memorable, and measurable. Your program should engage your employees proactively and should include a strategic objective. Several things will need to be considered:

First off, you must consider the total number of employees. The number of employees you have will greatly determine what kinds of programs you can put into place. It will also determine how much you can spend on each employee and what kinds of recognition you can give.

Another key factor to creating a program is to consider the total amount of money to be allocated, or the budget you want to spend to implement the plan. Be sure to consider your funding (or the amount budgeted per employee). Remember that employee programs need not be expensive. If you are working with a limited budget use awards such as a certificate, small amount gift cards, or meetings meant to honor employees. Sometimes public acknowledgment goes further than gifts.

You'll also want to think about the program's objectives, administration, and communication. Ask yourself, what do I want to accomplish with this program? Is it to boost morale? Is it to increase productivity? Including a specific purpose statement in your program plan will help to define why the program exists.

Who will be running this program? Who will be in charge of generating buzz around it? What's the administrative commitment to the program? All of these are great questions to ask. It is great to get employees input as well when creating a reward program because it allows you to give the people what they really want. Set up a committee that will run the program and be able to go back periodically to evaluate its effectiveness. How will this be communicated to employees? Delivering your message and building excitement around the program will be a critical element to ensure its success.

You'll also need to think about the program's eligibility and participation setup. When you take the time to define a strong identity, you give your associates the ability to identify and exemplify the behaviors and activities that will garner recognition. Making a clear program will encourage participation and take the guesswork out of it. List out the exact requirements it takes to earn the reward. For example, employment status and length of service. Make it attainable, no one wants to be reaching for the pot of gold over and over again. Employees want to participate in something that challenges and motivates them, not something impossible to achieve.

Another core component of creating a recognition program is to clearly define the program's dates. How long will the program run? Is it continuous or for a limited time? Find out what makes sense to your business. You may have a new product rolling out that you want employees to get excited about selling during the first quarter of its introduction. Maybe you want to have an ongoing program that rewards employees for referrals.

Program awards are also highly effective when tied to publicity. Many companies set up programs that honor their employees in ceremonies, where the employee is publicly recognized. Making a public announcement of some kind is really important so that the employee feels the recognition. A plaque or trophy with the salesperson of the month's name on it displayed publicly is one idea, or even just a personal letter of accomplishment given to the employee by a manager is a good idea as well. Find a way to take your program public within the company to ensure the employee feels that it is truly an honor to be awarded.

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