Reward and Recognition Programs Your Employees will Love

Reward and recognition programs acknowledge employees for their extraordinary achievements and everyday efforts. These programs help motivate and engage employees, which improves both productivity and retention.

Research indicates that employees value frequent, timely, and meaningful recognition and rewards. That’s why many employers utilize a variety of different tools and systems for delivering personalized recognition and small rewards regularly throughout the employee lifecycle.

Employee recognition programs that drive organizational results (such as peer-to-peer recognition programs, above-and-beyond performance programs, and programs motivating specific behaviors), are replacing more traditional forms of employee recognition like years of service awards. Digital platforms that deliver personalized recognition and/or flexible rewards are also becoming increasingly popular with U.S. companies.

Structured reward and recognition programs for employees that are highly effective (and widely used by companies across industries) include:

Peer-to-Peer Reward and Recognition Programs

reward and recognition programs - peers

A peer-to-peer recognition program, also known as a social recognition program, encourages co-workers to publicly give each other positive feedback and praise.

Peer-to-peer recognition programs typically recognize exemplary one-time achievements by individuals or teams. A peer-to-peer recognition program can also be used to recognize ongoing exemplary performance.

Apps and digital tools, such as virtual recognition walls, made to facilitate social recognition among colleagues are popular with large companies and corporations. Some peer-to-peer recognition platforms incorporate elements of gamification like badges or points, which can be redeemed for rewards. Rewards may be tiered and distributed via a digital platform like an online employee rewards catalog.

Why It Works: Peer-to-peer recognition is known to increase team morale and productivity. Peer-to-peer recognition is almost 36% more likely to improve company financial results than manager-only recognition.

Above-and-Beyond Performance Programs

Above-and-beyond performance programs recognize individual employees or teams for their extraordinary performance over a period of time. An above-and-beyond performance program can include individual recognition for exceptional customer service, process improvement awards, employee of the week or month awards, and going the extra mile programs.

Rewards for above-and-beyond performance programs can include monetary awards; extra time off; plaques, certificates, or trophies; experiential rewards (such as a tour of a vineyard or concert tickets); and tangible rewards (like branded apparel, accessories, or personal tech products).

Amazon’s “Just Do It” award is an example of an above-and-beyond performance program. This program annually recognizes employees who exemplify two of Amazon’s core performance-related values: Innovation and Bias for Action.

Why It Works: Research indicates that employees love meaningful, specific recognition tied to performance.

Spot Awards Programs

Spot awards are another common type of employee reward and recognition program. Spot awards are given out in a timely and spontaneous manner, to recognize employees for extra effort or one-time achievements, such as a special contribution to a project or exemplary execution of a task. Spot awards differ from above-and-beyond performance programs like Employee of the Month because they are typically given at a manager or supervisor’s discretion, without a nominating process.

Spot awards allow for on-the-spot recognition and are given out in a spur-of-the-moment manner. Extra PTO and gift cards are cost-effective and desirable employee rewards for a spot awards program.

Why It Works: Spot awards are highly effective because they are timely and meaningful.

Safety Reward and Recognition Programs

Reward and Recognition Programs for Safety

Large companies and corporations often use recognition and reward programs to motivate employees to adopt new technologies, habits, and behaviors. Safety recognition and rewards programs, which help achieve the goals of the organization’s safety program, are an example of a reward and recognition program for motivating specific behaviors.

Flexible rewards like Safety Bucks work best for motivating employees to achieve organizational goals.

Why It Works: Safety recognition and rewards programs promote safety culture in the workplace which helps keep workers healthy and happy.


Employee Service Awards Programs

While result-driven recognition programs are increasingly popular with U.S. corporations, more traditional forms of recognition, such as employee service awards, are still widely used across industries.

Employee service awards, also known as tenure or years of service awards, celebrate length-of-service milestones. Service anniversary recognition is often part of a total rewards package and typically comes with a plaque, trophy, certificate, or cash reward.

Why It Works:

As average job tenure declines, employers should not overlook the benefits of recognizing, celebrating, and rewarding long-term commitment and loyalty. This can be a powerful motivator for senior employees – and inspirational for junior employees as well.

Reward and Recognition Programs vs. Incentive Programs

Incentive programs are another common way that employers motivate, recognize, and reward employees. According to Forbes, “Incentive programs are contests usually limited to a specific group within a company, such as sales, in which employees compete to win some prize. By contrast, recognition programs acknowledge and reinforce the accomplishments of the majority of employees. They are more about long-term goals and values.”

Points-based incentive programs are especially popular with employers and employees alike. A points-based incentive program encourages employees to complete certain tasks and achieve short-term goals to earn points. Points can be accumulated and redeemed for rewards such as gift cards and company swag.

What the Best Reward and Recognition Programs Have in Common

The best employee reward and recognition programs are custom-built to support organizational goals and objectives. The best employee reward and recognition programs also provide what employees value most – timely, personalized recognition and flexible rewards.

Employers should hold conversations with employees about the type of rewards they prefer – or make it easy for them to select their own rewards from a range of appealing options. Popular types of flexible rewards to let employees choose from include a meal out of the office/meal with the boss; gift certificates or gift cards; experiential rewards; and tangible gifts, such as branded merchandise. Rewards should be deployed quickly to have the most impact.

An online company store is a customizable digital platform that can be used to quickly distribute a wide range of rewards to employees that they’ll love. Universally appealing gifts to stock in an online company store include:

  • gift cards;
  • branded jackets, shirts, bags, and hats;
  • noise-cancelling earbuds, wireless speakers, and other tech items;
  • pet carriers, collars/leashes, and toys;
  • drinkware and barware, such as travel tumblers and mocktail/cocktail mixer sets.

To set up a consultation for an online company store for employees, contact Metron Branding or fill out the form below today:

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