Gift Programs

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Maximize the Results of Employee Recognition Program

Amit Bhagria, author of the How to Manage Human Resources blog, posted an informative article a couple weeks ago about How to Maximize the Benefits of Employee Recognition Programs. The core of this entry revolves around the idea that in today’s fast changing work environment, attracting and retaining employees depends largely on what an organization does to engage and recognize employees. He points out that both formal and informal recognition should be given regularly to onsite employees and offsite employees.

“Managers,” Bhagria says, “should take care not to let high-tech tools detract from their ability to build relationships with employees and need to be cognizant of the inherent value derived from human interaction. When it comes to the virtual workforce, managers may be limited in terms of face-to-face contact, but can take full advantage of the resources at their fingertips to deliver rewards and recognition to employees.”

As many of my clients have found, staff award programs not only contribute to an improvement in overall business results but can truly help send a message to employees that they are appreciated and valued by company.

Bhagria’s article outlines tips for a successful employee recognition awards program. I really thought that her points were valuable and wanted to highlight and explain some of these gems. Keeping these key ideas in mind when implementing or re-evaluating a recognition program can help ensure it is not only successful but also effective in accomplishing an organization’s business objectives.

Buy-In. I would also call this the relevance factor. Both managers and employees should understand how the program works and what it means to them individually. If the program is administered fairly, goals are attainable/ realistic and is properly communicated it is more likely to be perceived as relevant to recipients.

The Value Factor. Employees come from different backgrounds and everyone needs to feel rewarded by therecognition program. The gifts that employees receive should be valued and cherished, making a lasting impression of the company that gave the gift each time it is used. By incorporating tangible, name brand merchandise into the employee award program, everyone can select a gift of their choice.

Equitable Rewards. Programs that reward only selected employees will leave the others, who worked just as hard, in the dust. According to an article by Paul Shearstone posted on, the top 20% of performers in organizations are generally already motivated. Primarily targeting this group not only isolates other departments but will increase performance minimally. Instead, by including everyone in an employee award program, a company can target all employees and double the results.

Don't Spoil Recognition. How the employee perceives the program is vital to its success, as mentioned above. Bhagria expresses concern that employee recognition should always be delivered in a heartfelt and sincere manner. I completely agree with this point…if a manager is indifferent to the employee award program, then employees may feel that the program is just an empty initiative instead of an earnest reward. I would add that presentation of the award can be formal or informal, but should always be presented with sincerity and in public whenever possible.

The Need for Recognition Transcends Age. People crave recognition and attention for their hard work. Employees that receive this recognition from an employee award program are more likely to stay at a workplace. In an article from The National Federation of Independent Business, the author comments, “Taking employees for granted creates the same strain in a business setting as it would in a personal relationship: people move on to an environment where they are appreciated.”

Don't Rely on Stereotypes. Assuming that all Generation X employees will enjoy the same gift is usually not a good idea. I think that this hits home for all of my clients because they have found that offering a wide variety of high quality, recognizable name brand employee awards is vital to a program’s success.Merchandise motivates, and a wide variety of merchandise allows each individual to select the gift of his or her choice.

Don't be Afraid to Reach Out. When employee recognition occurs, you are sending a message to employees that they are a valued asset to the organization. For offsite employees, sending email communications with a special, personalized message and award ordering information may be ideal for recognition. For onsite workers, on-the-spot recognition can be easily given with a personalized rewards card that is redeemable for a brand name gift.

Following the above guidelines for any employee recognition program will help to ensure the effectiveness and successfulness of the program. Letting employees know that they are an integral part of the organization with employee awards helps to protect your employee talent and knowledge base. As Bhagria concludes, “Keep your most valuable assets, your employees, from searching out greener pastures by truly letting them know just how much you appreciate them.”

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