7 Common Employee Recognition Mistakes

by Kylee Stone Apr 3,2020

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

According to a recent study, 80 percent of employers have some type of employee recognition program in place.

Recognizing your employees will help you retain your existing workforce and keep them highly engaged as they would be motivated to receive the reward or recognition for the hard work they put in. Employee recognition programs help in achieving the long-term and short-term goals of the organization. 

But is your employee recognition program rightly structured, or is it harming your organization unknowingly? Here are 7 common employee recognition mistakes that should be avoided by any organization. 

People Feel Left Out

Recognizing your team members for their hard work and contributions is a good practice. But have you considered the effects of the same on other employees? It lets others feel like underachievers, and they get disengaged from their work. Increasing the number of recognitions throughout the year so that more and more people are recognized, can reduce the issue.

Don’t Assume On Behalf Of The Employees

Employee recognition and rewards should be appealing and be of use to the ones who are going to earn them. While devising employee recognition programs, it is advisable to take suggestions from your team members or fellow employees. Don’t just plan on your own and decide what is best for your team. Conduct polls on surveys before deciding on what employee recognition and rewards they would prefer. Having a tailored recognition program in place will help them feel more valued.

Not Everything Is About Money

Many organizations believe in the fact that rewarding through cash incentives and bonuses is the best way to recognize or reward their employees. This results in a workforce who works only for money. In this case, employees might leave the organization when they are approached by organizations paying them more in terms of salary and bonuses. Instead of cash incentives employees can be rewarded with family trips, food vouchers, reward points, or a simple public appreciation.

Also Read: Drive Employee Engagement with Engagedly

Late Recognition is Equivalent to No Recognition

Many times organizations fail to recognize their employee’s efforts on time, which hampers the employee’s enthusiasm towards their work. A consistently performing employee will be expecting recognition as soon as their work is over. Recognizing the employee half-yearly or annually simply reduces their consistency in performance and efforts towards their work. A simple weekly recognition of work and efforts would be advisable in this case.

Practicing only top-down Employee Recognition

Employees working at your organization not only would love being recognized by their managers and HRs but would also like being recognized by their peers and customers as well.

“In a recent Gallup workplace survey, employees were asked to recall who gave them their most meaningful and memorable recognition. The data revealed the most memorable recognition comes most often from an employee’s manager (28%), followed by a high-level leader or CEO (24%), the manager’s manager (12%), a customer (10%) and peers (9%). Worth mentioning, 17% cited “other” as the source of their most memorable recognition.” 

A 360-degree approach can be followed for recognizing your employees at the workplace.

Also Read: 360 Degree Feedback and Performance Reviews

Performance Not the Only Scale

Performance should not be considered as the only scale while shortlisting an employee for recognition and rewards. Effort, enthusiasm, integrity, and adhering to the company’s principles should also be rewarded. Linking your company’s goals and principles to the employee recognition process will generate tangible and intangible benefits for the organization.

Don’t Let the Program Fall Through

Starting a great employee recognition program is just the beginning, but steering it to the finish line requires lots of hard work, time, and commitment. Employee Recognition programs need to be continuously monitored by higher management so that the program doesn’t fall through. There shouldn’t be only a half-yearly or yearly recognition program, but it should be carried out on a weekly and monthly basis as well. Employees and higher management should be made aware of the importance of employee recognition and its importance on business.

Employee Recognition might seem to be a tedious process to follow, but it surely is an essential and important one for every organization and helps you achieve your goals for the long term. Having a sound employee recognition system in place will not help you retain highly engaged and motivated employees.


Engagedly is offering a suite of products part of its Remote Work Toolkit free to any organization, until Sept 30th, 2020. 

The Coronavirus has affected the way we work today and for months to come. Unprecedented events require unprecedented measures. We at engagedly believe it is our responsibility as socially conscious corporate citizens to help equip organizations with additional tools and resources during this time of crisis.

Get in touch with us to know more about the free remote working tool-kit. 

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Kylee Stone

Kylee Stone supports the professional services team as a CX intern and psychology SME. She leverages her innate creativity with extensive background in psychology to support client experience and organizational functions. Kylee is completing her master’s degree in Industrial-Organizational psychology at the University of Missouri Science and Technology emphasizing in Applied workplace psychology and Statistical Methods.

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