Learn why a comprehensive recognition program can be an effective employee engagement tool

Recognizing employees for their hard work and accomplishments is important to all organizations, big and small. In fact, 84% of HR professionals say that recognition has a positive impact on employee engagement (SHRM 2018).

Launching an employee recognition program may seem like a daunting task, especially for small companies like ours. But it’s not as challenging as you might think. There are many simple and low-cost ways to recognize employees.

Davis & Company has launched several fun (and easy) recognition activities over the years, such as Props to My Peeps where colleagues were given a set of five colorful note cards to personally recognize co-workers. They posted their positive and uplifting comments on a “wall of appreciation” for everyone in the company to see.

We also conducted a similar peer-to-peer recognition program where employees were given a set of value cards (each aligned with a specific company value) to recognize colleagues for their efforts. The recognized employee could then redeem his or her value card for a gift card.

This spring, our team introduced a new recognition activity inspired by a book we read called, The Power of Moments, which focuses on building strong relationships through memorable, meaningful experiences. We brainstormed some ways to create these experiences and one idea was to create a recognition activity that would empower employees to provide on-the-spot recognition.

So, here’s how it worked. We gave each employee $20 to spend any way he or she wanted to express recognition, such as buying a colleague (or colleagues) lunch or offering a small gift. Then we encouraged employees to share their recognition moment on a bulletin board entitled “With my $20, I…” in the hallway outside our kitchen (a high traffic area).

To keep up the momentum and encourage employees to participate, we did several communications, including email reminders, Yammer (social media) posts and staff meeting announcements.

In no time at all, the bulletin board was full of photos of employees enjoying their “treats” and notes expressing thanks!

Here are some examples of what Davis & Company employees did for their colleagues:

One team member bought her colleague a bag that says “thank you” in several languages for doing a great job reviewing a series of translated videos.
Another colleague recognized her team by taking them all out for Starbucks during their weekly check-in meeting. 
And one colleague used her $20 to buy baking supplies to bake some delicious homemade treats for the entire office to enjoy.

What made this experience so impactful? Employees enjoyed the freedom of recognizing their peers in their own creative way. And as they posted their recognition moments on our real-life Instagram board, others were motivated to do the same.

As for resources, this was a relatively low-cost way to recognize employees and required very little time to manage.

So, if you think employee recognition is out of your company’s reach, think again. Try empowering your team to create and share their own recognition moments.

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