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7 Best Hacks For Your Employee Recognition Program

Most organizations are cognizant of the potential impact of effective recognition programs; however, they feel challenged in achieving the desired results. Here are the 7 best hacks for your employee recognition program that can take it to the next level and deliver the expected benefits.

What are the Expected Benefits of Employee Recognition Programs?

Awards Event

The effectiveness of an employee recognition program is measured typically by tracking the following metrics:

1. Employee Performance/ Productivity
2. Engagement/ Job Satisfaction
3. Collaboration / Work Culture
4. Employee Retention
5. Employer Brand

A good employee recognition program should have a positive impact on one or more of the above metrics.

What are the Best Hacks for your Employee Recognition Program?

Here are the 7 top hacks to drive your employee recognition program to the next level and get the expected benefits:

7 Best Hacks for your Employee Recognition Program

1. Go Digital

Work from Home

The first and foremost way to get an employee recognition program off the block is to digitize it completely.

Digitization of the employee recognition program can make the program suitable for a distributed and hybrid workforce and reduce the administrative overheads of running the program. 

The digital recognition platform can also help in improving the end user experience considering the growing proportion of millennials and Gen Zs in the workforce who have greater affinity towards digital products and services.

2. Focus on User Experience


It is not just enough to have a digital employee recognition platform, but to ensure that it is user-friendly and provides a great experience to the end users.

One important aspect of the user experience is enabling employees to access the platform from anywhere – desktop or mobile devices.

Integrating with other platforms in the organizations such as HRMS, Intranet, MS Teams, and Slack can enable employees to log into the platform seamlessly through a single sign-on.  

Having an engaging yet intuitive user interface is yet another aspect that drives the usage and impact of the platform.

3. Gamify It


Adding different game elements such as rewards points, badges, e-certificates, leaderboards, wall of fame, etc. can help make the program more exciting and engaging for the employees.

Gamification can help in driving up the usage and eventually the impact of the program.

Once again, the millennials who have a strong exposure to the gaming culture are likely to patronize a program that has gamification built into it.

Higher participation is likely to drive better results from the program.

4. Add Monetary Benefits

Gift Cards

Monetary benefits can help in driving up the level of participation of the employees in the program.

A points-based rewards system that allows employees to redeem gift cards, cash, or other monetary benefits is definitely a must-have for any effective recognition program.

These monetary benefits should be calibrated based on the workforce profile, available budgets, and industry trends.

It is always a good idea to benchmark these rewards with programs of other players in the industry.

5. Create Variety


An effective employee recognition program should have enough variety in terms of categories of rewards and recognition.

This keeps the employees excited and involved in the program and ensures the desired level of participation.

The variety can be achieved through recognition of employee performance over different timeframes – immediate/ instant, monthly, quarterly, and annual.

The recognition should also be targeted at different aspects of the employee’s performance –individual, collaborative, innovation, learning and development, etc.

6. Leverage Peer Recognition

Social Recognition as a Multiplier for Employee Recognition?

Involving co-workers in the process of recognition instead of just the supervisors and the management can give a tremendous boost to the traction and impact of these programs.

Peer-to-peer recognition can be a potential game changer for employee recognition programs.

Peer recognition can help in creating a more collaborative and open work culture

It comes at virtually no additional cost to the company but can add great value to the program, in terms of participation and impact.

7.  Create a Buzz

Enable Social Recognition for Innovators 

Gamification and monetary benefits alone might not be enough to keep employees interested and involved in the recognition program.

Creating social visibility around the program is equally important, if not more.

For a generation of employees who spend a considerable amount of time on social media, their achievements and recognition must get noticed by their co-workers and even by their friends and connections.

Hence, publishing employee recognition on internal platforms such as Intranet, MS Teams, Slack, etc., and even on social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook can give a big boost to the effectiveness of the program.  


As an organization, considering these 7 best hacks for your employee recognition program and implementing them can really help you derive greater returns from your program.

Sagar Chaudhuri

Lead author: Sagar Chaudhuri, the Co-Founder and CEO of HiFives. He is an HR Tech Evangelist with over 25 years of experience in the corporate world and entrepreneurship. In the past, Sagar has worked with companies such as Genpact, Infosys, and ICICI Bank, in leadership roles. He has an engineering degree from IIT Kharagpur and an MBA from IIM Lucknow. Connect on LinkedIn

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HiFives is a global employee rewards, recognition and engagement SaaS platform that enables organizations to digitize, automate and transform their employee experience. It is used by 100+ large enterprises, small businesses and startups in manufacturing, retail, technology, financial services and media, across 25+ countries.