8 Mistakes That Will Hurt Your Employee Rewards and Recognition Program

Employee Rewards and Recognition Program
Employee Rewards and Recognition Program

Your employee rewards and recognition program is meant to celebrate the efforts and hard work of your employees. The whole purpose of implementing such a program is to make your employees feel values. In addition to recognition, it also helps motivate your employees, increase productivity, loyalty, and happiness.

However, these benefits are only viable if you can manage your employee recognition program effectively. If you do not structure your recognition program properly, it causes more harm than good. Often, a recognition program fails due to mistakes made during the development and implementation of the program. Here are 8 common mistakes that can hurt your employee rewards and recognition program.

Don’t be generic

Imagine one of your employees performs really well receives a $10 gift card. But then another employee from another department gets a $10 gift card as well. Then a third employee from the IT department successfully implements a large software and receives the $10 gift card as well. 

This continues until your whole team gets the same reward for performing exceptionally well. Suddenly you realize that your reward is not that special anymore. If you want your employees to really feel recognized, avoid being too generic with rewards.

People get left out

It is pretty common these days to have a workforce made up of a diverse range of people from different cultural backgrounds. But it is really common when a program is designed with business leaders’ cultural norms in mind. 

This can lead to other employees feeling left out. This is why it is important to make sure that your reward scheme is also diverse and reflects all the cultural differences properly.

Empty Praises

Most employees will agree that not being praised at all is much better than empty praises. Often, empty praises lead to more resentment and feel hollow. Make sure your praises are valuable by being specific, so your employees know that they are being recognized for the right reasons.

Recognizing too late

One of the most common mistakes many organizations make is recognizing their employees too late. When you recognize an employee too late, it loses its value. There might be a possibility that your employee might be upset that the praise came too late. It is important to make sure that you recognize the employee soon after they have completed the work.

Letting the program die

Another mistake a lot of organizations tend to make. The organization gives it a few tries after it is implemented and then lets go of it. Such actions can be harmful to your organization. 

Employee recognization programs should never be abandoned and must be sustained. Your organization should also work towards continually revamped from time to time. What might have worked five years ago, might not be effective anymore.

Recognizing only one employee

Although rewarding your employees for their hard work is important, rewarding only one for their contribution is a mistake. When you recognize only one employee, you are indirectly implying that the hard work of other employees is not worth rewarding. 

This can greatly affect your engagement compared to not rewarding anyone at all. To avoid such pitfalls, you have to increase the volume of rewards offered to your employees.

Private affair

A lot of organizations tend to make the mistake of making an employee rewards program a private affair and avoid a presentation ceremony for the employee receiving the award. It is important to recognize employees publicly in the presence of other employees which can make them feel elated.

When recognizing employees, make an effort of inviting others and organize a recognition ceremony so the rewards feel valuable.

Assuming you know everyone

When distributing rewards, another common mistake organizations make is assuming they know what each of their employees wants or assuming the same reward will be sufficient for each employee. It is important to understand that not all employees are the same and might be expecting something different as a reward.

To make this easier, it is necessary to take continuous feedback from your employees once your rewards program is implemented. Not only it will make it easier to choose rewards, but your employees will also value the recognition you will offer.


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