5 Mistakes That Hurt Employee Recognition Programs

by Kylee Stone Mar 29,2019

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

Employee recognition programs are a great way to boost employee engagement. However, more often than not, they end up doing the opposite of engaging people.

Poorly structured employee recognition programs end up causing a lot more harm than good. If employee recognition programs have failed in your organization in the past, use this list of 5 common mistakes that you can prevent from happening in the future!

Don’t Use A One Size Fits All Approach

Giving everyone the same reward or recognition lessens the weight of the gesture. Recognition should be, unique and personalized. Different types of excellence deserve different types of recognition. And only when recognition is personalized will employees believe that the employee recognition program carries weight.

Don’t Let The Program Die

This is what usually happens to employee recognition programs. Once they get off the ground, usually the organization gives it a few tries and then completely lets go of it. Employee recognition programs are something that must be sustained and continually revamped as well. Conventions for recognition can change over a period of time. And what worked well a decade ago might not work that well currently.  

Also read: 11 Employee Perks That Are A Lot Better Than Just A Pay Raise

Don’t Recognize Too Late

This is another mistake many organizations are guilty of making, having recognition come too late. When recognition comes too late, it loses value. The employee probably won’t even remember what they are being recognized, or alternatively, they might be angry about the fact that it came too late. For recognition to hold value, it should be immediate. Preferably soon after the employee has completed the work.

Don’t Give Empty Praise

No praise is most definitely better than empty praise. Empty praise rings hollow and breeds more resentment than do good. For praise to be valuable, it should be specific as well. That way, employees know that their work is being recognized for the right reasons.

Don’t Assume You Know What Everyone Wants

Another common but fatal mistake that employee recognition programs make is that they assume that everyone wants the same thing. Or worse, they assume that everyone wants only monetary rewards. Most of the times, monetary rewards are appreciated but what some employees might appreciate more is public recognition. Or some might prefer to be recognized privately. Or alternatively, some might want more flexibility, as opposed to more money. One thing employees value is the ability to have a life outside of work. Rewards or recognition that keep them at work instead of allowing them to relax will only make them feel like they are not being appreciated.

At first, employee recognition might feel like a chore. But recognition is necessary. It doesn’t just engage people, it also motivates them. Once you create a culture that recognizes and values people, it will also end up creating a workplace where people do want to work.

Engagedly’s rewards module can help you recognize employees easily and without a hitch.

To find out how it works, request a live demo from our experts!

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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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