Five steps to create a successful employee rewards and recognition program

Employees can become disengaged with their role or team if their contributions go unrecognized. Creating an employee rewards and recognition program not only enhances engagement and fosters cross-team collaboration, but also serves as a demonstration of trust, support, and appreciation for your employees. 

Whether you’re finding solutions for a small company of 50 or a larger team of 500, here’s five key steps in building a successful employee rewards and recognition program at your organization.

Step one: gain leadership buy-in

The first step in creating a successful employee rewards and recognition program is making sure your leadership team is on board with it. Having leadership buy-in from the start is a crucial component in getting rewards programs off the ground. 

Don’t worry if you haven’t gained leadership buy-in at your organization just yet though! When given the chance to talk about how rewards programs keep employees engaged with each other—and their leadership team—you can move the conversation along by presenting a logistical plan that covers:

  • How to track rewards
  • Impacts on HR KPIs and budget
  • Potential employee recognition platforms
  • Reporting needs
  • Payroll requirements
  • Expectations for team members and employees

Step two: set parameters 

Don’t feel overwhelmed or locked into initial parameters you decide on for your rewards and recognition program’s launch. Instead, take the time to regularly reevaluate how your program is being used, what your employee recognition platforms look like, and the budget you have. Then you can adjust parameters as you see fit. 

At Tango, we cover 100% of the costs associated with our employee rewards and recognition program—and it doesn’t pass anything onto our employees. We set a max amount of $10 per reward for our peer-to-peer program, encouraging employees to send as many rewards as they want to encourage participation and collaboration.

As you continually reassess your rewards and recognition program, it's important to ensure that the associated costs align with your program’s objectives. Now, let's delve into the crucial aspect of setting up reporting mechanisms for your program, allowing you to gauge its effectiveness and make informed adjustments to parameters as needed.

Step three: set up reporting 

As your company grows, the number of rewards sent also grows. With head count increases comes the need for new ways to manage the rewards program. This includes finding employee recognition platforms that give you the ability to pull reports so you can have the information needed to stay on top of everything. 

Take about 30 minutes every month to pull and review a report that shows: 

  • How much you’ve spent on rewards
  • Your employee recognition platforms usage 
  • Who has given what reward to whom
  • How many rewards were redeemed
  • Reasons rewards were sent

Pro tip: An employee rewards and recognition program is stronger when employees are sending rewards with intention. Require senders to include either a personal message to the recipient or an explanation for the reward.

Step four: send company-wide communication and launch your rewards program

Once you’ve created the framework for your employee rewards and recognition program, the next step is to get employees involved. To ensure employees are engaged with the program, select team members to advocate for its purpose.

Make sure all employees are aware of the program by providing the following info:

  • Why the program was created
  • How employee recognition platforms should be used
  • Where to find the tools needed to successfully use it

This information can be shared at a company-wide email and amplified with lunch and learns or a special highlight during a staff meeting. It gives employees an opportunity to learn about the program and any best practices.

Step five: monitor it

When you’re implementing a new program, you’ll want to ensure you’re checking in on its usage frequently. For smaller companies, and anyone else concerned about potential program misuse, some warning signs and red flags to look out for include: 

  • People who send rewards frequently to the same people
  • If there’s no reason listed for the reward
  • Employees who send rewards to themselves
  • Multiple admins using the same login

If you experience any instances of misuse with your employee rewards and recognition program, you can pull the team members aside, explain what behavior you see, and give direction for the behavior you’d like to see moving forward. Once you’re consistently seeing the program used correctly, you can move to a less frequent monitoring schedule. 

Give your employees rewards they love

For more information about creating a successful employee rewards program at your organization, book a free demo with us. Our team is more than happy to show you how easy giving employees rewards and incentives can be.

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