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How To Build Traction For Employee Recognition Programs

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How To Build Traction For Employee Recognition Programs

Most organizations today understand the importance of creating an effective rewards and recognition program that aligns with the organization’s business goals and cultural values.  However, organizations need to build traction for employee recognition programs among their employees to make them successful and produce the desired results.

What is the Importance of Building Traction in Recognition Programs?

An employee recognition program can be successfully implemented and executed only if the workforce finds it interesting and engaging enough to participate enthusiastically in it.

A well-designed program may fail without proper participation from the employees.

Hence, promoting the recognition program helps maximize workforce participation and paves the way for its success.

Enable Social Recognition for Innovators 

Moreover, it sends a positive message to the workforce that their employer is seriously considering their efforts and contribution to business growth.

What are Best Practices for Promoting Employee Recognition Programs?

Employee Rewards and Recognition

Developing an effective recognition program requires a significant investment of the organization’s funds, time, and effort.

Therefore, to maximize the returns of this investment, the organization needs to promote the program to its workforce.

They also need to motivate them to participate in it regularly.

Here are a few practical ways to promote employee rewards and recognition programs among the workforce:

What are the Best Practices for Promoting Employee Recognition Programs?

1. Build a Strong Program Brand

Employer Branding

Organizations need to create an employee recognition brand with which their employees can connect.

Designing the program to meet the expectations of the workforce is essential.

Branding can be achieved through the program name, logo, theme colors, award names, and even the language and tone of the write-ups associated with the program. 

All these elements combine to inject a unique brand personality into the program, making it more attractive to employees.

2. Involve Employees from Initial Stage

Communication for Successful Employee Rewards and Recognition

Notably, the earlier in the program development and implementation cycle that employees can get involved, the greater their level of interest and participation once the program is launched.

Hence, organizations can seek inputs and ideas from employees about naming the program, the best ways to launch it, the type of rewards, and even how they are presented, etc.  

Such a level of involvement can help boost employee motivation and inspire them to participate in the program from day one.    

3. Communicate Extensively


One of the most effective ways for organizations to create a buzz around their employee recognition programs is to communicate extensively about the same to their employees.

They should use every opportunity to reiterate the various features and benefits of the program.

The communication should intensify closer to the launch date and aim to build interest and excitement among the employees.

Organizations should conduct town halls, open houses, and team meetings and develop online and offline materials about the program, such as FAQs. 

They should leverage different modes of communication to disseminate information about the program, such as email, the Intranet, or platforms such as Teams or Slack.

4. Plan and Prepare for a Grand Launch

traction for employee recognition programs

The launch of the program should be well-planned and a grand affair. 

Apart from extensive communication in the run-up to the launch, the launch itself should be planned and managed as an event of importance.

The launch could be done in a large-scale online or offline forum.

The event’s scale and the senior leaders’ presence can help maximize the program’s visibility.

5. Get Leaders and Managers to Champion the Program

Top Management Role in Employee Rewards and Recognition

It is essential to involve the senior leaders in promoting the recognition program.

The leaders should be part of the communication and the forums related to the program. This can help build higher credibility for the program.

Involving line managers and supervisors in the program development and rollout is also very important.

This makes it easier for them to spread the word about the program. They can also answer any questions or queries that their team members might have about the same.

6. Continue Communication Post-Launch

Promote The Program

It is not enough to communicate extensively about the program before the launch or to have a grand launch event.

It is equally important to continue the communication even after the launch.

Post-launch, open house sessionsfollow-up communication about the program features and benefits, and sharing early success stories can be useful.

Moreover, this can help the organization to maintain the momentum built up through the pre-launch and post-launch phases.

7. Focus on Continuous Feedback and Improvement

Additionally, feedback is a critical but often overlooked way to drive traction for employee recognition programs.

So, the organization should create proper mechanisms to gather regular feedback about the program from the employees such as satisfaction surveys and focus discussions.

Hence, organizations should utilize such feedback to modify or enhance the program.

Therefore, this needs to be a continuous process and might be one of the most essential factors in the program’s success.

What are the Key Metrics for Traction in an Employee Recognition Program?

The key metrics for measuring traction in an employee recognition program can vary depending on the program’s goals and objectives.

Determine What Systems Are Required

Here are some key metrics commonly used to assess the effectiveness and impact of employee recognition initiatives:

Key Metrics for Traction in an Employee Recognition Program

1. Recognition Participation Rate

Measure the percentage of employees participating in the recognition program by giving and receiving recognition. A high participation rate indicates strong engagement and adoption of the program across the organization.

2. Frequency of Recognition

Track the recognition events over time, including the number of recognitions per employee or team. A steady increase in the frequency of recognition suggests that the program is gaining traction and becoming ingrained in the company culture.

3. Recognition Sentiment

Monitor the sentiment or feedback associated with recognition events. Analyze qualitative data such as comments, testimonials, or survey responses to assess the perceived value and impact of the recognition program on employee morale, motivation, and satisfaction.

4. Employee Engagement Scores

Use employee engagement surveys or pulse checks to measure changes in employee engagement levels before and after the recognition program’s implementation. Look for correlations between recognition activities and improvements in engagement metrics.

5. Retention Rates

Evaluate employee turnover and retention rates to determine if the recognition program has increased employee loyalty and retention. A decrease in turnover rates or an increase in employee tenure may indicate that the program effectively reinforces a positive work environment.

6. Productivity Metrics

Assess changes in productivity metrics, such as individual or team performance, project outcomes, and key performance indicators (KPIs). Look for trends that suggest a positive correlation between recognition efforts and improvements in productivity and performance.

7. Quality of Work Relationships

Measure the quality of work relationships and collaboration among employees. Look for indicators such as improved teamwork, communication, and trust levels within teams or departments, which a strong recognition culture may influence.

8. Employee Feedback and Surveys

Gather employee feedback through surveys, focus groups, or one-on-one discussions to assess their perceptions and experiences with the recognition program. Use this feedback to identify areas for improvement and refine the program accordingly.

9. ROI and Cost-Benefit Analysis

Conduct a cost-benefit analysis to evaluate the recognition program’s return on investment (ROI). Compare the costs associated with implementing and maintaining the program against the tangible benefits, such as increased employee engagement, productivity, and retention.

10. Alignment with Organizational Goals

Assess the alignment of recognition activities with organizational goals and values. Look for evidence that recognition efforts reinforce desired behaviors, promote cultural norms, and drive progress toward strategic objectives.

By tracking these key metrics, organizations can gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of their employee recognition programs and make data-driven decisions to optimize engagement, performance, and retention efforts.


Organizations need to create traction for employee recognition programs among their workforce to derive the expected benefits. It is as important as designing and developing the program itself. 

Sagar Chaudhuri

Lead author: Sagar Chaudhuri, the Co-Founder and CEO of HiFives. He is an HR Tech Evangelist with over 25 years of corporate and entrepreneurship experience. In the past, Sagar has worked in leadership roles with companies such as Genpact, Infosys, and ICICI Bank. 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.