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What is Employee Recognition?

Qu'est-ce que la reconnaissance des employés? - Accolad

The right employee recognition program can have a profound impact on the heartbeat of your organization - its people. Employees who feel valued are the ones who go above and beyond the call of duty. By recognizing their contributions, big and small, you boost morale and minimize attrition. But free pizza in the staff room won’t cut it. In fact, you could end up viral on TikTok for all the wrong reasons. Here’s how the right employee recognition program can spur productivity, innovation, and loyalty. 

What is Employee Recognition?

Employee recognition is the art of showcasing your appreciation for an employee’s hard work and contribution to the company. It can be as simple as saying thank you during a meeting, or something tangible like prizes and money. The point is to ensure your people feel seen, valued, and essential to the success story of the business. Investing in gratitude helps create a more inclusive and fulfilling workplace that regularly inspires your team to strive for excellence. 

Employee Appreciation vs Recognition

However, many companies confuse the terms appreciation and recognition. While the two are related, they’re not the same. Yet, both are extremely valuable and can yield different results. 

Appreciation is the act of expressing feelings of gratitude toward an employee. It is often more personal and can be formal or informal. It tends to focus on a person’s inherent value, which may be unrelated to a specific job performance. For example, offering a year-end bonus as a thank-you for a year of hard work can be considered employee appreciation. 

Recognition, on the other hand, acknowledges specific contributions and achievements related to work performance. It's often public, formal, and tied to your organization's goals or values. Recognition might involve celebrating or rewarding an employee who completed a project ahead of schedule, exceeded sales targets, or demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities. 

Why is This Distinction Important?

Understanding the distinction between appreciation and recognition is important because helps tailor your communication to align with the emotional and professional needs of your employees. While appreciation can boost morale by creating a supportive work environment, recognition can drive performance by aligning employee action with organizational goals.

A workplace culture that effectively balances appreciation and recognition is better able to meet the emotional and professional needs of its people. The right combination can significantly boost employee satisfaction and retention.

The Benefits of Employee Recognition

Imagine walking into a workplace where every effort you make is noticed and valued. If that’s the kind of environment you’d like to work in, the same goes for your people. Everyone craves recognition and positive feedback. Whether on-site or remote, employee recognition programs can positively impact up to 92% of your employees. The knock-on effects can benefit the business in the following ways:

Accelerates Motivation: Think of recognition as the spark that ignites a deeper drive within your employees. It’s like saying, “We see you, we value you,” and in turn, they climb higher, push further, and aim to exceed not just the company's expectations, but their own.

Cultivates Meaningful Engagement: When you recognize your team, you're planting seeds of loyalty and commitment. Watch them grow into more invested and proactive contributors who are emotionally invested in the success of the company and their personal growth.

Elevates Performance: Recognition is like the wind beneath the wings of your employees, lifting them to achieve heightened excellence. It's the difference between doing a job and loving the job.

Fosters Loyalty & Retention: Recognition is the fortress that guards your most valuable assets – your employees. Minimize attrition by earning their trust with the currency of genuine recognition, not just paycheques.

Promotes Inclusivity: Recognition brings together diverse people into a vibrant, cohesive community. In this space, each person feels connected to each other, not just their role. This creates a culture rich with understanding and mutual respect.

What are the Different Types of Recognition?

Ideally, employee recognition should come from all members of the company. There are two types of recognition systems: top-down recognition and peer recognition. Let's take a closer look at each of these options:

Top-down recognition: This involves recognizing an employee's efforts and contributions by their hierarchical superior. This recognition is beneficial because the supervisor can help the employee progress within the company, whether through raises, gifts, better benefits, or their dream job. 

Peer recognition: This is considered the most powerful. Peer recognition encourages more engagement than top-down recognition. In fact, 69% of employees say they would work harder if their efforts were recognized by their peers.

Tips to Master the Art of Recognition

When done right, recognition is the language of care and appreciation that resonates deeply with your team. But there are several factors that can make or break a successful program. Accolad is a leader in employee recognition solutions and has helped countless organizations meaningfully recognize their employees. Here’s how to get it right:

Seize the Moment: Let’s pretend an employee just aced a project and exceeded expectations. Now, imagine the joy and motivation they feel when you immediately acknowledge their success. That's the beauty of real-time recognition. The faster you act, the more likely you are to ignite their enthusiasm and earn their trust. 

Be Specific: When you recognize an employee, dive into the details. It’s like saying, “I see exactly what you did there, and it’s brilliant!” This specificity turns a generic pat on the back into a meaningful and memorable moment. Attention to detail reinforces the actions and attitudes you value most.

Keep it Real: Personalization is the new normal. Your recognition should be tailored to the specific employee being recognized, not a one-size-fits-all approach. This requires understanding your team and their unique personalities. Some may thrive on public recognition in front of their peers, while others prefer a low-key private setting. Focus on the person, not just the work.

Celebrate with Purpose: An effective program is thoughtful, inclusive, and builds a culture of gratitude. To do that, you need to define the program’s purpose and who is eligible. Ideally, all employees should be recognized - from the CEO to the intern. Focus on building a framework that consistently and fairly acknowledges the people who keep your company thriving. Then, determine the behaviours and actions that can be recognized, as well as who is responsible for administering the program and its budget.

Recognition Without Borders

Now that remote and hybrid work is here to stay, you can’t forget to publicly recognize your off-site employees. Their contributions are just as valuable and worthy of recognition. From Slack channels to social media shout-outs, use every tool at your disposal to ensure all employees (near and far) feel seen and appreciated. To do this effectively requires a combination of top-down and peer recognition.

The Best High-Impact Employee Recognition Rewards

The data doesn’t lie, positive feedback is the most impactful way to be recognized. While there are many ways to express appreciation, here are best reward strategies that resonate with employees:

Gift Cards Provide Personalized Appreciation

These are consistently among the top rewards that employees like to receive because they provide the freedom of choice. Whether it's a gourmet meal, a shopping spree, or a movie night, gift cards cater to every taste and passion. At Accolad, we offer a diverse range of gift cards that you can personalize according to your needs. Visit our catalogue now to learn more.

Awards Celebrate Milestones With Meaningful Experiences

Think beyond the plaque! Our award options create lasting, meaningful memories. Give the gift of joy with dinner vouchers, tickets to sports events, or the latest tech gadget. These awards create experiences, stories to be told, and moments that show how much you value their contributions.

Special Events Bring Joy & Excitement to the Workplace

Jazz up your Employee Of The Month program by offering that special someone a premium parking spot. That’s just one example of the simple yet effective ways to demonstrate your gratitude. Out-of-the-box events create a workplace where each day is an opportunity for your employees to enjoy the benefits of their hard work and dedication. 

Charitable Giving Empowers Employees to Make a Difference

Empathy and generosity are powerful motivators, especially for the new generation of values-driven workers. That's why we love the idea of letting your top performers choose a charity to support with a company donation. This approach shows that you're not just investing in your employees but also in what they believe in. This can create a deeper sense of purpose and community within your workplace.

Accolad is Your Ticket to Successful Employee Recognition

Are you ready to master the art of employee recognition? Accolad is your command centre designed to streamline the rewards process with profound insights into what makes your employees feel truly valued.

Get it right, the first time. You can automatically send a personalized gift to your employees when it matters most. Our vast array of quality rewards means your staff gets to choose rewards that genuinely resonate with them, ensuring each gesture of appreciation hits the mark.

When it comes to finding the ideal way to say thank you, Accolad gives you access to thousands of gifts that cater to all tastes, budgets, and interests. Our rewards are customizable to align with your unique brand identity.  Contact us now to explore the possibilities with Accolad.

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