How to Build Employee Recognition Program into your Culture

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by viperk's , last updated on


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Most HR pros agree that successful organizations make employee recognition a priority.

Organizations that effectively show appreciation for their employees open up communication channels, build commitment and have happier employees.

Showing employees they are valued can be done in a lot of different ways. To do it consistently, many organizations are turning to more comprehensive employee recognition programs.

This is no easy task for even the most seasoned HR staff, as it requires a mix of clearly defined, well-publicized goals and a mix of formal and informal programs. But a successful employee recognition program can be put together on a budget and prove very fruitful.

At viperks, we have helped some of the best companies in the world round out their recognition programs with our employee discount offerings. These organizations follow a playbook when putting together a recognition program. Here are a 7 key components of that playbook.

1. Package a fun program
What’s one of the most important aspects of selling any product or service? The packaging.

When you create a recognition program, it’s no different. It needs a name, theme, and identity. Use program graphics on cards, updates, internal company communications, newsletters, and award certificates.

2. Tell your team about your efforts
It’s important to let managers and employees know that your recognition program is part of the culture at your organization, and you expect them all to participate. Write an article for your company newsletter or post it on your intranet. Talk about the recognition program during staff meetings.

If your managers are the leaders of your recognition program, add an agenda item to their one-on-one meetings about the recognition they’ve been doing.

3. Recognize culture champions
Recognize your active program users in a public setting. During a staff or company meeting, put the spotlight on the employees who have given and received the most recognition.

By recognizing individuals who actively participate in the recognition program, you send a message to the rest of the team that recognition is important in your organization. Plus, this is a great way to reward those employees who have been dedicated to keeping the program going strong!

4. Add employee discounts to the mix
You want rewards for your employees to be timely and reflect what they want, not just what you have time to buy before a staff meeting.

One way to keep up with popular trends and seasons is to add an employee discount program to your recognition plans. Employee discount programs like the one we offer gives employees a way to purchase name brand goods at a steep discount through a company-branded portal. This kind of program helps you package your overall recognition efforts as an effort to truly connect with your team.

5. Create a team incentive
Motivate employees to be more active in your recognition program by setting a goal. Describe the award for hitting the goal, like a free lunch or extra vacation days. Share the prize with employees ahead of time to inspire them to strive for the goal.

Keep employees excited about the program by adding new opportunities to earn prizes. (For example, employees who stand out earn a ticket in a drawing for cash bonus or a viperks gift card.)

6. Make Recognition Visible
Is your recognition program easy for employees and managers to use? Walk through the process of giving recognition in your program. Remember, even a well-branded, well-intentioned program will go unused if employees can’t find or don’t know how to participate.

7. Survey Employees to Gauge Success
Ask your employees what would generate more interest in your recognition program, what kinds of rewards they prefer, and suggestions for improvements.

It’s very important you respond to employees and let them know how you are using their feedback. If you ignore their suggestions and fail to implement changes, they’ll lose faith in the program. Remember, this is about engaging them, so their feedback is gold!


Want to learn more about how you can help your employees be happier and more productive? We're here to talk.

Topics: employee recognition

blog author

Eric Golubitsky

Eric brings 18+ years of entrepreneurial experience. Eric founded S.M.I.L.E. Inc. in 1998, which was a Consumer Electronic Pro Top 100 home automation provider and was recognized as the #1 fastest growing company in NE Ohio by CWRU Weatherhead School of Management in 2003. As an Ernst & Young "Entrepreneur of the Year" finalist in 2005, Eric's accomplishments have been recognized multiple times including the Consumer Electronics Association's national "Mark of Excellence Award." Eric is also a 5 year member of EO (Entrepreneurs Organization).