How To Create An Employee Recognition Program

RedBalloon For Business

What is employee recognition?

The more gratitude a company has for its people, the better the company performs. Employee recognition programs thrive off an organisation publicly acknowledging their team for who they are and what they do. This includes times your employees go above and beyond, or celebrate important milestones. In turn, employee recognition creates a more inclusive workplace with increased talent retention, workplace engagement and productivity.

What do employees need from their organisation?

Employees need five fundamental things from their workplace:

  1. Peer-to-peer recognition for a job well done
  2. A connection to the company’s vision
  3. A connection to company values
  4. Engagement throughout the organisation
  5. An authentic ‘thank you’ culture

It is also essential to understand the difference between appreciating and recognising employees.

Appreciating an employee is the acknowledgement of a person’s value within a team and a company, rather than drawing on their accomplishments. On the other hand, employee recognition is providing team members with positive feedback based on their performance. This could be done in a formal way, such as with a promotion, a raise or an award, or informally with a verbal thank you or a hand-written note.

The impact of employee recognition

When an organisation successfully implements an employee recognition program, they’ll find a decrease in employee turnover and a subsequent increase in talent retention.

In one case study where our RedBalloon for Business client, Connect Hearing, were finalists for the best reward and recognition program in the 2017 HR Awards, they used our REDii employee recognition program to create their ‘YOU ROCK’ program. Over two years, we saw a decrease in their turnover by 12.6%.

Connect Hearing was able to create a workplace where 93% of their employees were using their ‘YOU ROCK’ program to recognise their peers, but they were also retaining more talent than in previous years, which had favourable impacts for their bottom line.

When to recognise employees

Recognising employees can be achieved in a formal or informal setting and for a multitude of achievements and milestones.

While giving promotions, pay raises and awards are great ways to recognise an employee’s long-term loyalty, hard work or success, it is also important to recognise an employee’s personal achievements. This could include milestones such as the first day on the job, a work anniversary or even personal achievements like parenthood or major birthdays which can be recognised with a small gift, voucher or hand-written note.

What makes a good employee recognition program?

Effective employee recognition links your people to your purpose and values. Many organisations already have a common language for desired behaviour in the form of values or performance standards. What gets recognised gets repeated by others – but only if they understand what it is you want repeated. Therefore, you must first establish your company’s values and then, recognise people based on work that demonstrates them.

Once you have your values, you can set up a program through RedBalloon for Business to recognise your employees. When it comes time for you to determine how and when you recognise and award your team, you can ensure that every moment of recognition is captured in one central place.

RedBalloon for Business gives you visibility of who, and how often, people are demonstrating your values and positively contributing to company culture and success. So, follow the simple principle of linking employee recognition to core values, and you’ll be able to track the journey of building an excellent, engaged workforce through the power of strategic recognition.

At RedBalloon for Business, we are passionate about giving businesses the tools they need to build better workplaces. As a small business ourselves, it is our mission to support small and medium businesses in being able to achieve more with less.


Q: How do you give employee recognition?

A: RedBalloon for Business can provide organisations with an easy and centralised employee recognition platform that allows peer-to-peer recognition for achievements in the workplace.

Q: What are examples of recognition for employees in the workplace?

A: Some easy and informal ways to recognise employees in the workplace include a verbal thank you, a shoutout on the company forum, a hand-written note, or even a small prize. Some more formal ways to recognise employee success include a promotion, raise, or special award.

Q: Why is employee recognition so important?

A: An employee recognition program has the potential to change an organisation for the better. Not only will the workplace thrive off the positivity and gratitude of an effective rewards and recognition program, but there will also be an increase in employee productivity, talent retention and motivation across the organisation.

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