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Employee Recognition: The Devil is in the Execution

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Employee Recognition: The Devil is in the Execution

Most organizations understand the significance of rewarding and recognizing the efforts and achievements of their employees. Hence, they launch employee recognition programs 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 creates a lot of internal pressure.

Integrate Reward and Recognition with Innovation Efforts

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.

Hence, HR should continuously monitor program metrics and make necessary changes to keep up the employee interest and involvement.

What are the Challenges in the Execution of an Employee Recognition Program?

One of the biggest reasons behind the failure of employee recognition and reward programs is their poor execution. 

Having a proper execution plan for the rewards program is critical to its success

Hence, organizations need to first understand the challenges faced in the execution of the rewards programs.

The most common ones are as follows:

1. Data Issues

Provide Time and Resources to Employees to Explore New Ideas

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.

Also, manual data handling and errors in turn might result in a loss of trust in the program from employees.

2. Technology Issues

Determine What Systems Are Required

Not having a proper technology platform for rewards and recognition can lead to lower participation of employees in the program.

The issues could range from poor features and functionalities to poor user experience. 

Whatever the issues, it leads to lower participation and eventually the low business impact of the program.

3. Poor Program Management

Why switch from In-house Employee Recognition Platforms?

HR teams are usually busy handling other critical processes such as appraisals, compensation, review, and talent management.

Hence, it 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


HR needs to continuously analyze the program metrics, make regular changes to increase the impact, and communicate with employees regularly.

It is important to keep the program fresh and updated.

Hence, regular communication can create a sense of excitement and involvement among the employees.

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 the Program


It might be good to have a small but dedicated HR team entrusted with the successful execution of the program.

This team should be tasked with monitoring the program and assisting employees as required,

They should also be analyzing the program impact, collecting feedback, suggesting changes in the policies/ processes, and implementing them after getting the necessary approvals.

2Effective Employee Recognition Portal with HRMS Integration

HiFives Employee Rewards Platform

Also, organizations should have an employee recognition portal that can digitize and automate the entire process of nomination, approval, and communication.

The portal should be easily accessible to all employees so that they can nominate their team members.

Hence, technical integration with the HRMS ensures that the employee and the supervisor data in the portal are always up-to-date.

3. Continuous Feedback from Employees

traction for employee recognition programs

Also, it is important to get regular feedback from employees about the effectiveness of the program through surveys and focus groups. 

Inputs should be taken from both individual contributors and line managers and should include parameters such as overall user experience.

4. Regular Communication with Employees


Regular communication about the program and the updates is critical to its success.

Hence, it is important to create a continuous buzz around the program to maintain the interest and involvement of the employees.

This may involve organizing regular offline or online events such as contests and roadshows to promote the program.

5. Support of Line Managers

Peer-to-Peer Recognition versus Manager Recognition

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 support and interest of supervisors in the program.

They would expect a clear business impact from the program through higher motivation and productivity of their team members.

Hence, their feedback, views, and suggestions are critical inputs for the execution of the program.

6. Involvement of Senior Management

Top Management Role in Employee Rewards and Recognition

Also, the involvement and interest of senior management are crucial to the success of the employee rewards program.

It motivates supervisors and employees to participate in the program due to its importance to 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.

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.