Creating a recognition program is simple.  Be creative.  Have fun – make it a party!  It is a celebration of success.  Enjoy it.

A recognition program is an important and effective tool for motivation.  Effective motivation enhances the employee’s sense of accomplishment, contribution, involvement, and satisfaction.

Motivating and recognizing employees is vital to the development of an effective and positive work environment.  Make it a memorable event and have fun.

The essential elements forming a recognition program are:

Pick an award category or categories.

  •  Merit – The Merit category provides recognition for excellence.  It could be providing exemplary customer service, a quality deserving praise or approval, or demonstrated ability or achievement. Most recognition programs will fall under this category.  The other categories are very specific. Merit is broad and provides the most freedom to be creative.
  • Length of Service – Length of Service recognition is given to employees (including retirees), associates, or other individuals who have achieved benchmark anniversaries in their years of service. Five years is usually the minimum length of service that is recognized.
  • Safety – The Safety category provides recognition for acts intended to prevent adverse effects related to danger, risk, or injury.  
  • Participation – Participation awards are given to employees, associates, or other individuals because of their involvement in an activity. Participation awards serve to remind the participants of the awesome time they had celebrating and participating in the event.  Examples include:
    • Receiving a door prize for attending the event
    • Receiving an award, reward, or prize for completing a task.

 Describe who can win the award.  The more competitive the field, the more prestigious the recognition.

Describe what they need to do to earn the award. Clearly defining the award criteria requires the most thought and effort.  The basic question you must answer is, “what must someone do to receive this award?” Ultimately, each award’s criteria should be explicit enough that employees know what must be accomplished to earn the recognition. It should also be clear so the final recipient is someone who has demonstrated they deserve the award.

Select the Award  What will you give? (I can help – just ask!) Maybe you want to give cash, gift cards or time off?  Several types of awards and combinations of awards can be used, and it can be more motivating to employees if the awards are tailored to their individual interests. But remember, if you are giving cash, gift cards or PTO be sure to also include a memento to remind the recipient of their accomplishments.  Otherwise they will spend the money and forget the experience.  Then you will not get the lasting benefit of them repeating the behavior that won them the award.

Be as creative as possible and have fun.  Make the event a positive, memorable experience and you will motivate and recognize the excellence in your organization.  Harness the power of recognition.