Complete Guide to a Reward and Recognition Strategy

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Do you ever reward and recognise your employees? If not, why not? Did you know that a solid, carefully-crafted reward and recognition programs for employees can boost company profits, help you find and keep the best recruits, encourage employees to do more, and inspire fresh creativity?  

As experts in the world of employee incentives we’re ideally placed to deliver the low-down on staff reward and recognition strategies. Read on to find out about reward and recognition programs in the workplace, why you need one, and how to make it happen for your business.   

What is a Reward and Recognition Strategy?

Our first question is a vital one: what is a reward and recognition strategy? It’s a proven way to create a hard-working programme or policy designed to informally acknowledge employee performance. It’s all about the day-to-day recognition of people’s skills, achievements, innovations and ideas at work. It addresses every aspect of recognition, from awards to an ongoing daily acknowledgement that your employees are performing well. When you get it right it can have a noticeable positive impact on all sorts of elements of your business, from profitability to HR churn.

Why is Reward and Recognition Important?

We’ve answered the question what is rewards and recognition in a corporate context. Next, why is reward and recognition important? Recognition is important to employees for all sorts of reasons. You’ll know from your own feelings that simply being thanked makes a big difference to the way you feel about a task. If you do a fantastic job but nobody thanks you or acknowledges your efforts, it doesn’t feel good. You eventually lose motivation and settle into doing the bare basics, because it isn’t worth the bother doing more. 

Why do we need rewards and recognition? It’s a human thing. We all feel great when we’re praised and thanked. Employees are happier in their work when their contributions are recognised, which is why a lack of recognition is the top reason why people leave their jobs. As you can imagine, staff recognition programmes reduce staff turnover, just one reason why organisations with great programmes in place are more likely to enjoy positive business outcomes. 

Workers want recognition from workmates as well as management. Recognition programmes attract the best candidates for vacancies. And there are plenty of real, rock solid business benefits behind a reward and recognition strategy. Keeping great people for longer cuts your HR costs right down, freed from expensive staff turnover. You find it easier to build a great company culture, because appreciating your workers properly means you take staff appreciation seriously. 

You motivate people to do more, do it better, faster, and with more creativity and confidence. People will get a real kick out of hatching great ideas to improve the business. You boost productivity, drive better teamwork and collaboration, and on the whole you make the workplace a more enjoyable place to be. 

What are the top five reasons why companies use reward and recognition policies at work? They recognise years of service. They create a positive working environment. They create a positive recognition culture. They motivate people to higher performance. And they reinforce positive behaviour. All this results in a better, more profitable business. 

How to Implement a Reward and Recognition Strategy 

Here’s a step by step overview of how to implement a powerful reward and recognition strategy. 

Your first step is to pin down exactly what you want the strategy to achieve, which means defining the business objectives and goals behind it. You might want to improve staff retention, reduce HR costs, boost output, or encourage creative thinking. It might mean a noticeable improvement in employee interaction and engagement, measured via the percentage of employees who receive recognition awards. You may want to reward people for accomplishments to encourage them to go above and beyond the call of duty. It could mean you want the business to hit its top three KPIs within a certain timescale. 

Whatever your goals, you’ll want to put a reliable rewards and recognition system in place covering formal and informal ways to recognise and thank people. It’s wise to research the various types of programmes available and figure out which are appropriate for your business: in other words the most appealing to your employees. They come first. 

You’ll want to work closely with line managers and supervisors to introduce a new acknowledgement and recognition process. It’s important to create a clearly defined rewards and recognition policy that people can easily grasp, be inspired by, and actively enjoy. It’s wise to get people’s buy-in, so take care to communicate the policy and strategy with staff in a way they’ll appreciate, responding quickly to their feedback. 

It’s sensible to implement and test the new strategy to make sure it’s fit for purpose and works properly. You can always change it to make it stronger and more impactful. And of course it’s vital to understand the difference between ‘strategy’ and ‘policy’. Your policies are actually subsets of the over-arching strategy. 

How to Measure the Success of a Reward and Recognition Strategy

It’s no good just setting everything up then letting it run on without checking the results, without knowing the real-world impact. So how do you determine if your reward and recognition strategy is delivering success, or is simply not doing what it says on the tin? Management plays a crucial role in implementing the strategy and making it a success. You’ll need to carefully assess things as you go, to determine whether your defined business goals have been achieved or missed by a mile. 

You can harness various exciting metrics to derive the answers. Have the costs related to staff recruitment and retention gone down or are they still rising? Has staff churn declined or are you still losing great people far too frequently for comfort, losing large chunks of HR budget hand over fist? Has the company’s overall productivity increased, or are certain departments and teams producing more but the rest aren’t? Are your employees happier, is teamwork working better than ever, and are you able to hire the best talent? 

If the answer to one or more of these is ‘no’, you’ll need to tinker with your programme to perfect it and ultimately achieve your goals.

Reward and Recognition Strategy Template

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. You might want to find a good reward and recognition strategy template to work with instead of starting from scratch. It’ll help you build the ideal programme. Here’s what every good recognition and reward strategy template should cover: 

  • You need to define the project, formalise its purpose, and include an overview of the strategy
  • You’ll have to pin down the business objectives, KPIs and smart goals supported by the strategy
  • You’ll want to carefully cost out the strategy to ensure it is affordable – what’s the budget?
  • Create a breakdown of formal, informal, and day-to-day staff recognition activities
  • Include your rewards and recognition policy and, if relevant, formalise details like peer and manager recognition awards
  • Set the right strategy implementation and other responsibilities
  • Reveal how the strategy will be assessed

All this means the document that falls out of the end of the process will be meaningful, practical, and applicable. The most important thing to keep front-of-mind is the need to build a recognition strategy that’s right for your organisation, perfect for your people and their requirements. 

Let’s set up powerful recognition and rewards at your place 

Now you can see why a well-planned, hard-working, creatively implemented recognition and rewards programme can take a business to the next stage simply by making employees feel important, effective, cared for, and appreciated. There’s a raft of key benefits to both employees and employers. When everyone’s achieving their best, working shoulder-to-shoulder towards the same goals, it’s hard to beat the buzz. 

Did you know our software is a great way to create and run impactful, imaginative employee rewards programmes? Give it a go if you like. Click here for a free demo that’ll inspire you to rewards and recognition greatness. Alternatively, get in touch for an informal chat. We’ll be delighted to hear from you.