How Letting Employees Choose Their Own Rewards Helps with Employee Recognition

And Why You Should Care


According to a recent Gallup poll, proper employee recognition is a hallmark of a great employer. In fact, it is also a proven method of creating a productive and profitable workforce. The research by Gallup shows that companies with the highest engagement levels know how to appropriately incentivize employees through praise and recognition.

Why personalization matters

Not all employees associate employee recognition with positive benefits. This is because many companies rely on standardized, scheduled awards that single out only certain types of employees. For example, some companies exclusively focus on longevity and ignore outstanding achievements. On the other hand, employees may experience resentment at not being recognized for their considerable contributions. Therefore, it is essential to have an inclusive employee recognition program that regularly rewards individuals. Personalizing employee recognition increases employee loyalty and engagement.

Improved performance management

Individual employee recognition is one of the most powerful performance management tools available to companies that must also deal with a sluggish economy, increasing competition and low levels of employee engagement. Meaningful praise and employee recognition are excellent ways to increase employee productivity and collaboration among co-workers. Individual employee recognition results in higher loyalty and lower turnover rates. It has also been shown to decrease the number of work related accidents and even increase customer satisfaction. Employee recognition is also a great way to benchmark higher performers in order to encourage other employees to follow in their footsteps.

Recognize milestones

Employee recognition doesn't always have to focus on measurable statistics, such as sales or customer satisfaction. Employers can recognize other impressive employee milestones through their employee recognition and incentive program. This is an excellent way to express appreciation for all types of employees. The most basic way is to have a work anniversary celebration or recognize employment length milestones, such as 5 year increments of continuous employment. However, companies can also recognize other things, such as perfect attendance or positive peer or customer feedback. Milestone appreciation is a simple and effective approach that helps inspire employees while building a culture of appreciation.

Benefits of the recognition presentation

Recognition presentations do not need to be lengthy, formal awards ceremonies. Instead, simply allocate 10 to 15 minutes for the sharing of meaningful stories and real-life situations that illustrate how the employee impacted the customer or contributed to the company. A timely and sincere recognition presentation will make the employee feel appreciated, model exemplary behavior and connect outstanding accomplishments to the company’s values. It is also a good time for employees to bond and express gratitude to each other. Inviting a few employees to speak from the heart is much better than having an unrecognized individual from management give a formal speech.

Benefits of an award symbol or brand

The award that is given to the recognized employee should be non-tangible. That is, non-monetary items help build a positive social relationship between the employee and employer. Cash rewards are symbolic of the functional relationship between the individual and the company. The award should be a celebration of the values embodied by both the individual and the company. Brands aren’t just for advertising or marketing purposes. There are internal benefits to providing an award that is associated with the company brand. The employees will go connect emotionally and psychologically to the brand symbol. Consider creating customized awards based on the recognized employee’s personality and work history. Keep in mind that that tangible rewards are tax free. That is, certain milestone programs are tax deductible to the company and the individual recipient.

All and all, a personalized employee recognition program will benefit the company in many ways, such as increasing loyalty and profits. Individualized awards and customized ceremonies send the message that the company truly cares about people and not just profits.


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