Great Ways to Recognize Employees, According to Employees

  • author

    BHN Rewards

  • posted

    May 02, 2023

  • topic

    Employee Rewards

Great Ways to Recognize Employees, According to Employees

Who hasn’t been given an unwanted gift? We’ve all been there. Forcing a smile as we thank someone for an item we know we will never, ever use.

Your employees are no different. If your recognition program offers rewards your employees don’t want — or, just as bad, that don’t recognize them in ways that are meaningful to them — it could affect your retention efforts.

A report from Workhuman reveals that effective recognition for employees makes them:

  • Less likely to leave. They’re five times as likely to see a path to grow in the organization.
  • More satisfied. They’re 44% more likely to be “thriving” in their life overall.
  • More productive. They’re 73% less likely to “always” or “very often” feel burned out.

So what do employees want? Blackhawk Network partnered with NAPCO Research to go to the source and find out what employees themselves think are great ways to recognize employees. Here are some highlights.

READ MORE: Employee Rewards Ideas That Aren’t Cutting It (And What to Give Instead)

Spot the Disconnects

Our research shows a disconnect between what employees want and what employers give.

Consider traditional office gifts like apparel. Only 34% of employees value company hoodies and the like, yet 50% of employers offer them as part of their recognition programs. The writing is on the wall yet again: Branded merch is overrated.

Similarly, 90% of employees in our study preferred receiving Mastercard or Visa prepaid cards, but only 81% of employers offered them. Cash-equivalent digital gift cards are great ways to recognize employees because they can spend them however they want.

As our study indicates, there’s also a disconnect in how employees receive rewards and recognition.

Of the top requested recognition channels listed, giving personalized cards or emails was the only one where employers exceeded employees’ desires, most likely because sending an email costs only time instead of the budget for building a company-wide recognition platform.

But in the other three categories — company events, during a review, and via an intranet — employers fell behind. The first two can be addressed through training managers to incorporate words of recognition into those monthly town halls or quarterly performance reviews. The easiest way to do this is by building recognition directly into the communications tool that your employees already use every day, like BHN Rewards’ integration with Microsoft Teams.

Establish Best Practices

Listening to what your employees want is the first step to closing any of the gaps between what employees want from their recognition program and what companies are delivering to them.

Our research reveals that of the companies measuring employee satisfaction with their recognition program, 74% are using surveys to collect this information — and they’re doing so at least once a year.

Regularly asking for feedback on what employees like and don’t like about the program, which types of rewards they want, and how they want to be recognized helps you maximize its effectiveness. A simple, direct question like, “What do you think are great ways to recognize employees?” can help you fill in any blanks.

To make your recognition program as effective as possible — and ensure that your retention efforts are hitting the mark — be sure to follow up after your survey. Communicate key findings and implement any changes you can so your employees feel heard, understood, and, well, recognized.

After all, understanding what employees want is important. And it’s what leads to a successful employee recognition program. 

To learn more great ways to recognize employees, download the full 2022 Employee Incentives Report.

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BHN Rewards

BHN Rewards puts the power of digital rewards to work for marketers, researchers, and HR managers. Don't forget to check out all the great content in our Resources section!

BHN Rewards puts the power of digital rewards to work for marketers, researchers, and HR managers. Don't forget to check out all the great content in our Resources section!