Why Is Employee Recognition Important?

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Employee recognition couldn’t be more critical for businesses, especially as retention and productivity become bigger challenges in the wake of the Great Resignation and “quiet quitting.” An effective recognition and rewards program is a win-win for both the employer and the employees. Surveys show that when employees get regular recognition, they are more likely to feel valued and be engaged. That leads to business benefits such as higher productivity and team members who stay longer in their positions.

What Does Effective Employee Recognition Look Like? 

Successful employee recognition programs include acknowledging and showing appreciation for your team members’ achievements, milestones, and efforts in the workplace. They also often incorporate rewards to make the recognition even more meaningful. 

Here are just a few of the most common opportunities for recognition: 

  • Work anniversaries. Marking these yearly milestones is a great way to encourage loyalty and recognize employees’ commitment.
  • Project completion. Launching major projects typically involves a lot of hard work from multiple team members, so recognizing that effort is not only just a nice gesture, it also helps boost staff morale and encourage greater productivity. It also promotes positive team dynamics and collaboration for future projects. 
  • Individual goal achievement. Most companies set some sort of objectives, quotas, or key performance indicators (KPIs) for their employees to strive for. Tracking those goals throughout the year and giving quarterly or monthly rewards for those who hit certain targets — rather than just relying on end-of-year awards — can be a constant motivator and keep employees engaged all year. 
  • Birthdays and personal events. Establishing and deepening connections with team members can also help your retention efforts, not to mention foster stronger relationships at work. To show you care about your team members as people, and not just as employees, recognize personal events such as celebrating birthdays, getting married, and becoming parents.

Does Employee Recognition Work to Boost Employee Engagement?

Employee recognition is one of the key drivers of employee engagement. In fact, according to Quantum Workplace, employees who believe their work will be properly recognized are 2.7 times more likely to feel highly engaged

When employees are engaged, many other benefits follow. Research from Gallup shows that organizations that report high employee engagement see, on average:

  • 81%​ lower absenteeism​.
  • 23%​ higher profits.
  • 18% higher sales productivity.
  • 10% higher customer loyalty/engagement.
  • 43% lower turnover.

In addition, according to Great Place to Work, when compared with employees who don’t feel appropriately recognized at work, those who do are:

  • 2.6 times more likely to think that promotions are fair.
  • 2.2 times more likely to say that their employer embraces innovative thinking.

Twice as likely to say people at their workplace are willing to go above and beyond.

How Do I Create a Culture of Employee Recognition in My Workplace?

If you want to reap the benefits of employee engagement, it’s not enough to offer occasional, inconsistent recognition. Managers really need to create a culture of recognition in the workplace and even within each team. Here are some tips to help: 

  • Start simple. Praising and thanking team members for their efforts in person or via email is a small but great step forward. Take it public during staff meetings or with an employee-of-the-month post on a bulletin board or team chat channel. 
  • Consider a points-based rewards system. Gamifying your employee recognition can help keep it fun, and a points-based model lets you reward a wide variety of accomplishments and moments. 
  • Choose rewards that employees really want. Using gift cards as on-the-spot rewards is a compelling motivator and offers flexibility for recipients. 
  • Get buy-in from executives. A culture of employee recognition needs to start from the top. If executives aren’t participating in the program at every level, it won’t be successful.
  • Recognize employees regularly. While annual reviews and bonuses are nice, you need to give frequent rewards to make it part of the culture.  

How Do I Recognize and Reward Remote and Hybrid Employees?

With such widespread adoption of a hybrid or remote-first workplace model, many aspects of the employee experience have changed, including recognition and rewards. It makes it that much more difficult for managers to create the culture that recognizes all employees — both in-office and remote — for their contributions in a way that improves the team’s morale, engagement, and retention as a whole.

By adding digital rewards to your employee recognition program, you can instantly and easily show appreciation for team members anywhere in the world. BHN Rewards not only offers a wide, global selection of digital gift cards, prepaid cards, and e-donations, it also integrates directly with Microsoft Teams so you can recognize employees on the spot during live virtual meetings, via personal chat messages, and in public team channels.

Related Topics:

The Impact of Reward Systems on Employee Performance in 7 Statistics

25 Fun and Creative Ideas to Add to Your Employee Point-Based Reward System

BHN Rewards’ Pro Tips: How We Use Microsoft Teams as an Employee Rewards Platform