Employee engagement tips for showing recognition

Lyndon Evershed
Written by
Lyndon Evershed
7 January 2022

Employee recognition

People want to be recognised and rewarded for great work.

The goal of an employee recognition programme is to encourage and reinforce positive behaviours that results in exceeding objectives and boosting business results. Recognition is an excellent motivator, driving employees to aim for positive reinforcement.

HR can utilise carefully considered and creative merchandise as a tool to reinforce positive behaviours and recognise employee achievements.

Psychologists divide positive reinforcement into four types, differentiated by the type of reinforcer.

  1. Natural reinforcers occur as a result of the behaviour. We can all relate to the advice of ‘study hard and you’ll get good grades’.
  2. Token reinforcers are given for certain behaviours. These could be Employee of the Month recognition through to gifts or incentives.
  3. Social reinforcers are approval of a behaviour. A public thank you for a job well-done or mentions in internal communications help with recognition.
  4. Tangible reinforcers are psychical or tangible rewards. Creative expressions that are meaningful will live long in the minds of the employee.

At the other end of the spectrum, those who receive no praise will feel that their work is not up to par or that the manager doesn’t rate their performance. These feelings can create a negative working environment. Getting the balance right is crucial.

Demonstration that employees feel valued should be part of your company culture. A year-round programme adds benefits as employees and leaders are seen to be appreciated and appreciative. The first Friday in March is National Employee Appreciation Day – a celebration day with the purpose to strengthen the bond between employer and employee.

Employee recognition by their manager increases trust. It is also a motivator, and it is said to lead to an increase in productivity and innovation. A win:win for all involved.

In the CIPD Reward Management Survey, February 2021,70% of employers use variable rewards and recognition. Of those, 44% said that they had made changes to their existing arrangements or had plans to do so by March 2021.

“Employers do recognise that the pandemic has changed work, the workforce and the workplace massively in a relatively short space of time. However, as they’ve been so busy dealing with the day-to-day people consequences, they haven’t had time to reflect on what the implications of this new reality mean for how they could – or should – reward, and recognise, employee contributions.”

CIPD Reward Management Survey, February 2021


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Seven recommendations

Reward your people who demonstrate positive behaviours and values 

Employees want to work in a culture that demonstrates they are appreciated and valued. HR should introduce values and initiatives that continually support and drive those types of behaviours. Creating a great company culture results in higher productivity, lower attrition and greater employee engagement. This also leads to greater customer satisfaction.

We recommend that you recognise employees for those quick wins and project achievements that regularly occur at the workplace. Use this as an opportunity to tell your employees specifically why they are being recognised by management. And make sure their peers understand why they are acknowledged for hard work. This builds morale, improves the culture and shows appreciation in a sustainable way.

Thank You packs, spotlight awards and performance related products are all great to reward your team – so is a letter from the boss.

Implement a real-time peer-to-peer recognition system

Value-based rewards should be a key component of your employee recognition program. Employees who take part in a value-based recognition program feel more appreciated for their work every step of the way. Knowing you’re doing a great job is one thing, hearing others say it out loud adds a different dimension.

This can be tactile (like the stars on the board approach) or using your communication channels (internal or external like giving kudos on LinkedIn). Either way, look to instantly commend great work, and curate value-based packs and products for your employees to acknowledge their peers based on the values they portray.

Don’t be afraid to go public with your rewards and recognitions

Publicly rewarding the employees who demonstrate your company values in their work will go far beyond delighting that individual alone; your appreciation will act as an example to other team members and encourage them to exhibit similar behaviours, whilst also demonstrating to those outside your organisation that you appreciate your people and live your values.

These individuals should not just be selected by the management team. By encouraging peer recognition too, you’ll be able to ensure positive behaviours don’t go unnoticed, and it’ll encourage staff to live by the values as look for them in others. However, you decide to show your appreciation and reward your team, be sure to do so regularly and in a timely manner to provide the most impact and positive reinforcement.

Manage your talent with the appropriate recognition

Talent management and employee recognition can significantly affect the level of employee performance and contribute to overall organisational success and positioning.

Managers should know the best time and approach to provide feedback and recognition, in order to endorse high levels of engagement; otherwise, too much or inappropriate recognition could adversely affect an employee’s intrinsic motivation.

Provide a variety of recognition options for managers (or employees) to choose from that:

  1. reflects performance
  2. matches motivations
  3. fits personality types, and
  4. can be delivered with maximum impact
Ensure that you reward regardless of role and locations 

Most workforces consist of multiple different work functions from caretakers to C-Suite, spread across offices, warehouses, shops, client premises or at home.

It is important to have an aligned recognition program which supports keeping all workers engaged and performing, regardless of function or location. Even though contractors or consultants aren’t technically ‘employees’ they fundamentally support your organisations objectives, and hopefully align to your values – therefore should be included in your recognition program. Likewise, employees working remotely deserve the same rewards as those that would sit two desks away from their line manager.

Recognise fairly and develop a recognition program that doesn’t discriminate

Employees not only deserve good pay and benefits; they should also be treated fairly. They want to make a substantial contribution to the organisation and be valued and appreciated for their efforts.

Show appreciation and implement ongoing recognition programs which are all inclusive and do not discriminate in any way, shape or form.

Timing of reward and recognition is everything

When it comes to recognition, timing is vital. The act of recognition needs to occur when the high-quality performance is still at the forefront of both your managers and the employee’s mind. If high performance is continued amongst the same members of the team, this should also increase the frequency of recognition.

The recognition act needs to be carefully timed, so it does not lose meaning. It also needs to be appropriate and proportionate to the achievement in question. The bigger the achievement the bigger the reward.


We can help!

Limelight understands that using corporate merchandise in your employee recognition program provides your workers with something tangible and branded to reward greater productivity, positive attitudes, and results.

We’re here to help deliver a selection of merchandise suitable for all levels of recognition. Showing your appreciation for outstanding performance can highlight your commitment to your people and be aligned to company values to reinforce positive behaviours and attitude to work.

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