For the Love of Employee Recognition Programs

For the Love of Employee Recognition Programs

Dear Friends,

We are coming to the end of the January and people are looking for reasons to celebrate. Valentine’s day is fast approaching and this might prove to be a distraction in the workplace. This is traditionally a very personal holiday, and as such can take employees’ focus off their work as they make reservations and arrangements trying to plan the ultimate date night.

How can you keep your employees on track at work in the face of this romantic holiday? Now is the perfect time to plan and implement an Employee Recognition Program! Recognition is a top employee motivator, regardless of the monetary value of the award.  Not only does it increase productivity and performance levels of those who receive recognition rewards, it’s also effective for those who do not.

Studies have cited lack of appreciation as the #1 reason for voluntarily termination of employment. It has also been shown that a successful recognition program can account for as much as a 31% increase in employee retention. Why is it that employees respond so well to recognition?  Here are a few reasons that might offer insights into why recognition is such a great motivator.

  1. Gratitude: It is human nature to want to be included and acknowledged for our efforts. The simple act of recognition elicits a response of gratitude from the employee and makes them more likely to repeat the desired behaviors.

  2. Pride: Recognition stimulates a sense of pride in a job well done. This inspires employees not only to maintain their current level of performance, but to improve on it. In keeping with classic operant conditioning, pride reinforces the desired behavior and leads to the repetition of past successful actions.

  3. Competition: A reasonable amount of healthy competition can be a powerful motivator. Recognition of top achievers illustrates, by default, those who did not meet expectations fully. When managed correctly this can lead to a more positive work environment where employees are bolstered by the solid performances of their co-workers. A properly planned recognition program will encourage competition while avoiding resentment and hurt feelings.

  4. Pygmalion Effect: This is a form of self-fulfilling prophecy whereby higher employer expectations lead to higher employee performance. A well designed incentive program will make these expectations clear and allow employees to anticipate the rewards for a driven work performance.

  5. Psychological/Physiological: We have a psychological imperative to be recognized and appreciated. When this need is fulfilled, it generates an urge to comply and seek further recognition. There is also a physiological component to the effects of praise, recognition and the satisfaction that comes with meeting goals. An increase in oxytocin and dopamine levels as a result of positive feedback will lead individuals to work towards future goals and expectations.

  6. Loyalty: Recognition leads to a sense of belonging and importance. The stronger association an employee feels to their place of work, the more likely they are to work towards company goals. The concept of “reciprocal altruism” states that individuals who feel appreciated at work don’t consider themselves as separate entities, but as a part of the organization. This makes company goals a matter of personal satisfaction.

Gaining insight into what motivates your employees, and why, can help you to identify the key areas that your recognition program should encompass. Knowing the specific needs of your employees enables you to work with our consultants to design a tailored employee incentive program that will garner the best results for your organization.

There are many factors that must be taken into consideration when designing and implementing an employee incentive program. If proper criteria are not met it could lead to cheating, cutting of corners and ultimately failure.  The professionals at Strategic Incentives are experts in their field and will work with you to develop a custom plan.

About Strategic Incentives: Strategic Incentives is a leading nationwide provider of employee motivation programs. The company works with HR managers to implement sales incentive programs and safety incentives to retain employees, and loyalty programs to build customer relationships.  Visit the website at to download a complimentary PDF of “35 Ways to Use Incentive Programs.” “Like” the Facebook page to receive regular updates on sales incentives and promotional ideas. Call 888-686-8116 for more information on creating an in-depth performance improvement plan.


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