8 minute read – Posted by – September 13, 2016

Cost Effective Strategies to Recognize Employees

Employee recognition is openly acknowledging and appreciating an employee’s value to an organization.

There are many compelling reasons to put employee recognition at the heart of an organization including higher employee retention, increased productivity, and strengthened motivation to name a few. Because employee recognition programs can sometimes be seen as costly, employers have to come up with creative ways to recognize employees.

In the discussion, we will be covering cost-effective strategies that will allow organizations to recognize employees in a matter of minutes with lasting results.

Why Employee Recognition is Important

When recognizing peers become part of the day-to-day of a workplace, it fosters team building and alignment. Employee recognition comes in many forms. Employees can be recognized as individuals and for contributing to team efforts. It is important to recognize individual efforts even when recognizing team achievements as it shows a real-time understanding of another’s priorities.

Employee recognition can also be both formal and informal. Formal initiatives can be part of an organization-wide, quarterly activity, whereas informal recognitions can be given several times a week to promote extra productivity.

7Geese Recognition Board

7Geese Recognition Board

It can be surprising the number of statistics that show low job satisfaction resulting from lack of employer and peer acknowledgment. Employee recognition is important to all organizations because:

It boosts employee engagement.

According to Gallup’s 2012 report, companies with a recognition program, on average, reported a 22% increase in productivity rates.

It retains great employees.

A survey conducted by Deloitte showed effective employee recognition to lower turnover rates by up to 31%. Employees are more likely to feel a sense of ownership and build supportive teams when working with the same talented people over time. As well, strong internal talent can make for better future hires.

It better aligns teams internally.

Globoforce conducted a survey that found employees to be 17x more engaged than the average worker when finding alignment with company values through being recognized at work. It is important to create a sense of belonging for employees and trust in them to take charge of what it is they need to prioritize on a day-to-day basis.

What Makes for Effective Employee Recognition

Team alignment is highly dependent on conveying company objectives and core values across the organization. Recognizing employees for embracing company core values in their day-to-day achievements helps to connect employees with their teams and the overall company vision.

Effective employee recognition helps employees understand which behaviors are recognized and why. Frequent recognition is positive feedback from peers, managers, and upper management. Organizations that have managers championing regular recognition and communication have 47% high shareholder return according to a Towers Watson report from 2010.

Show your employees appreciation by providing continuous feedback.

Understanding where your employees currently stand and acknowledging progress promotes employee engagement thus, plays as a form of recognition.


Propiedades.com uses the 7Geese Recognition Board to engage employees continuously

PRO TIP: Conducting regular employee engagement surveys in order to obtain real-time data can identify insights on how employees would like to be recognized and whether or not there is alignment with company core values.

Effective recognition can be given anywhere, anytime.

According to Gartner, there are more connected mobile devices on earth than there are people. From this, we can reflect that the current workforce is more mobile and virtually connected than ever before. If employees can work from anywhere in the world—why shouldn’t they be recognized from anywhere in the world as well?

PRO TIP: Effective employee recognition practices embrace employees that are in different geographical areas with a mobile-friendly strategy.

Internal alignment of company objectives and core values with recognition.

Recognition reinforces achievements and can be utilized to align employees with company core values.


Satmetrix recognizes employee achievements in alignment to their company core values using the 7Geese Recognition Board

PRO TIP: Determine both company and employee objectives and how they align with the desired end results. Whether it’s increasing employee engagement or revenue, alignment is key to company success.

Current Employee Recognition Trends

Current employee recognition trends place importance on a mix of both tangible and intangible rewards. Public recognition also makes ongoing feedback much more approachable through a transparent organization.

Here are some of the top recognition goals:

  1. To create a core-values focused workplace.
  2. To create a culture of positive feedback and recognition.
  3. To help employees become more engaged with their work.
  4. To motivate high performance in employees.
  5. To recognize desirable behaviors aligned with company core values.

According to an employee recognition trends report by WorldatWork here are some consistently effective recognition trends:

  1. The human resource team is responsible for administering over half of any effective recognition program at 55%.
  2. Only 12% of organizations provide recognition program training to their managers. In-person training sessions have been proven to drive successful employee recognition programs.
  3. In 2013, there was a substantial increase in upper-level management supporting recognition programs at their respective organizations—indicating recognition as an investment rather than an expense.
  4. Most organizations believe a recognition program has positive effects on employee engagement, motivation, and overall employee satisfaction.

Best practices (in 4 steps)

  1. Identify company core values to be recognized
  2. Create employee profiles that live by company core values
  3. Communicate to employees regarding core values being recognized
  4. Identify employees that fit within recognition profiles

Actionable Next Steps

As the current employee engagement trends indicate to us, employees are seeking more real-time feedback and recognition for their contributions to their organizations. With this in mind, a successful recognition strategy should become a collaborative team-building experience where members can openly voice their support.

Teams don’t need to have an official recognition program to recognize employees. Provided the right training, any team should be able to give proper feedback.

Best yet, the time taken to actually put a recognition strategy into practice with a small team is very minimal. Since most employees already have some knowledge of or use social media platforms regularly, putting social recognition into practice should only take minutes.

Take the time to consider what mix of tangible and intangible rewards can be integrated with a social recognition program that encourages continuous feedback.

PRO TIP: Don’t stress if your team doesn’t have the budget to spend on recognition programs. Studies have found the most effective recognition programs to only spend 1% of payroll on recognition rewards!

Try The Simplest Tool For Greater Employee Recognition

May Chau

May is a Content Strategist contributing to the improvement of modern performance management at 7Geese. Connect with her via may@7geese.com