Rewards and Recognition: Creating a Program



Last week we talked about the differences between rewarding and recognizing. This week we wanted to share with you some ways to create a rewards and recognition program or rethink your current process.


#1 Identify what to recognize:

Look to your company’s mission, vision, and values. Really think about what your company values are. What are the intangible behaviors and tangible actions you want to recognize and reward?


#2: Be Specific & Timely

You want to provide clarity to your employees about which behaviors and actions are valuable.


Don’t forget to be authentic -- your employees will be able to tell if you are being authentic or not, so remember to be genuine.


MAKE IT TIMELY – give that specific recognition or simple reward right when you notice behavior/actions that you’d love to see again.


#3: Frequency

Think about what you’re currently doing to recognize your workforce…how frequent is frequent enough? Studies have shown that 1 unique recognition a month per employee helps to reinforce positive and productive behaviors and actions.


Don’t be afraid to recognize too much. It may seem redundant to recognize an employee for the same tasks they do day to day, but it’s important to help your team members feel appreciated.


#4: Inclusivity and Transparency

Everyone should be eligible for rewards and recognition. Now they made need to be tailored, but it should include ALL shifts, ALL departments, ALL employees…everyone. DO NOT FORGET ABOUT YOUR VIRTUAL EMPLOYEES and even your Leadership Team.


Be transparent about what you’re doing – explain the process to ensure everyone is on the same field. And don’t give rewards/recognitions in secret – if you give someone an award that you feel needs to be kept secret, maybe you should reconsider how fair is it in the first place.


#5: Personalize It

No two employees are the same. Not everyone wants their photo on a bulletin board or a “wall of fame.” They may not want to be recognized in front of everyone or on social media, they might not want a generic gift card. Find out what your employees are into – and give an authentic and specific reward.


Showing that you understand your workforce and what makes them comfortable in their workspace, shows that you are listening to them, you value them, you appreciate them.


#6: Collaborate

You cannot do this alone. Pull everyone into the process. Enable peer to peer recognition. You won’t change your company culture if the only recognitions are coming from managers or leadership.


#7: Be Fair

Look for the underdogs whose quality work might not be as obvious and try not to create company rewards that can only be achieved by certain workers or departments – remember inclusivity. Try to create programs that impact everyone – for example, a safety awards program, attendance program, wellness incentives, manager to employee, and of course, peer to peer.


#8: Include Your Leadership Team

You want to keep these programs top of mind with your company leaders – you want to make sure they understand the benefits or recognizing/rewarding the workforce – YOU ARE AMPLIFYING THE BEHAVIORS OF YOUR COMPANY. You really need to have buy-in from the top down. And get their feedback – they may have some great tips and suggestions that they have seen work elsewhere that might benefit your workforce.


#9: Keep it Separate

Avoid the dreaded compliment sandwich, where the compliments or positive feedback are before and after the potential critical feedback. Recognition or rewards shouldn’t be used to soften the blow of criticism. Although feedback is important, try to keep them separate.


#10: Measure of Success

Help everyone – especially your leaders – see the measured success of your rewards and recognition programs in terms of the broader business sense:

  • What are your safety metrics telling you…have your OSHA recordables decreased?

  • Has your attendance improved? Are absences less frequent?

  • Is turnover improving?

  • Are you seeing longer tenure in your workforce?

Engagement Surveys – don’t be afraid to get input from your workforce. Make them feel like they are a part of the process. Take advantage of engagement surveys to find out what’s working and what is not.


Next week, we will be talking about some rewards and recognitions for virtual employees.


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