August 1, 2020 0 Comment

Employee Recognition: The Devil is in the Execution

Most organizations understand the significance of rewarding and recognizing the efforts and achievements of their employees in an effective and timely manner. In keeping with the same, organizations develop policies and launch employee recognition programs for their workforce with much pomp and show. These initiatives generally receive great support initially and run extremely well for several months.

However, once the buzz and excitement around these programs gradually die down, often the execution starts becoming increasingly erratic. This often leaves the organizations wondering about what went wrong and create a lot of internal pressure, especially as the rewards program would have been initiated after completing the necessary executive and budgetary approvals.

The long term success of any business initiative, including an employee rewards program, depends on its proper execution. In the case of a rewards program, the responsibility of its execution within the organization often lies with the HR. It requires the HR to continuously monitor the program metrics, make changes and communicate to the employees to ensure their interest and involvement.

What are the challenges in the execution of an Employee Recognition Program?

One of the biggest reasons behind the failure of even the most well-designed employee recognition and reward programs is their poor execution. Having a proper execution plan for the rewards program is critical to its success.

Organizations need to first understand the challenges faced in the execution of the rewards programs. The most common ones as follows:
challenges in the execution of an Employee Recognition Program
1. Data Issues

Poor data quality or lack of proper data required to run an employee reward program might jeopardize the entire program. This could stem right from not having a proper HRMS to not having a proper integration with the HRMS.

Manual intervention in collating data might lead to errors which in turn might result in loss of interest of the line managers and employees in the program.

2. Technology Issues

Not having a proper technology platform or system for employee rewards and recognition is a big turn off for employees and their supervisors from participating in the program.

The issues could range from poor features and functionalities to poor user experience. Whatever are the issues, it leads to lower participation and eventually low impact on the program.

3. Lack of Focused Efforts in Managing the Program

Most HR teams are already handling several critical employee management activities including appraisals, compensation, review, and talent planning of each employee. This leaves them with little time to oversee and manage the employee recognition programs.

Consequently, it results in poor execution of these programs due to the minimal priority accorded and delays in decision making.

4. Lack of Innovation and Communication

The HR needs to continuously analyze the results of the program, make small changes to the program over time to increase its impact and communicate to the employees about the changes.

It is important to keep the program fresh and updated and create a sense of excitement and involvement among the employee through constant communication.

What are the Best Practices for the execution of an Employee Recognition Program?

Organizations need to overcome these challenges in the execution of the rewards and recognition program to make it a success. The following are the key steps that they need to take:
Best Practices for the execution of an Employee Recognition Program
1. Dedicated Resource(s) for Managing Employee Rewards

It might be a good idea to assign the responsibility of execution of the rewards program to a small but dedicated team of HR executives, who are completely focused on the successful execution of the rewards program.

This team is tasked with monitoring the program, assisting employees as required, analyzing the impact, collecting feedback, suggesting changes in the policies/ processes and implementing them after getting the necessary approvals.

2. Effective Employee Recognition Portal with HRMS Integration

Organizations should set up an employee recognition portal that offers detailed information about the program, eligibility criteria for participation and automate the entire process of nomination, approval and communication.

The portal should be easily accessible to individual employees so that they can their team members or co-workers for specific awards with proper citations and business justification. Technical integration with the HRMS ensures that the employee and the supervisor data in the portal are always up-to-date.

3. Continuous Feedback

It is important to take regular feedback from employees about the effectiveness and perception of the employee rewards program through surveys and focus groups. The feedback should be taken from both individual contributors as well as line managers and should include parameters such as overall user experience.

4. Regular Communication

Regular communication about the program and the updates is critical to its success. It is important to create a continuous buzz and excitement about the program to maintain the level of interest and involvement of the employees. This may involve organizing mini offline or online events such as contests and roadshows to promote the usage of the program and the portal.

5. Support of Line Managers

It is important to get the team managers and supervisors actively involved in the running of the employee rewards program. The success of the program is greatly dependent on their support and interest in participating in the program.

They need to see clear business value in the program in the form of higher motivation and productivity of the teams that they manage. Their feedback, views and suggestions are critical inputs for the execution of the program.

6. Involvement of Senior Management

The involvement and interest of senior management are crucial to the success of the employee rewards program. It motivates supervisors and employees to increase their level of participation in the program due to the importance accorded to it by the senior management.


It is not just enough to design great employee rewards programs.

Knowing and overcoming the various challenges that hinder the efficient execution of such a program is the key to ensuring their long-term success and delivering the expected return on investment for the organization.

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HiFives ( is an employee rewards, recognition and engagement SaaS platform that enables organizations to digitize, automate and transform their employee experience. The platform enables supervisors and co-workers to nominate, recognize and reward employees using a points-based system. Budget management, jury-based evaluation and multi-level approval workflows are built into the platform. HiFives has social features such as a wall of fame and gamification features such as leaderboards, e-certificates and digital badges. It also has a global redemption system with country-specific e-gift card options. HiFives integrates with all leading HRMS systems, Office 365, Google Workspace, MS Teams, Slack and other popular tools used at the workplace. HiFives is used by many large enterprises, small businesses and startups across 25+ countries in the world, in many industries including manufacturing, retail, technology, financial services and media.