0 Comment

Sustaining Effectiveness of Employee Recognition Programs

Watch the Video

Sustaining Effectiveness of Employee Recognition Programs

Organizations today need to maintain high levels of employee motivation and make them feel integral to the organization. In this context, a well-developed and implemented employee rewards and recognition program can play a critical role. However, the effectiveness of employee recognition programs must be sustained over a long period.

Why do Employee Recognition Programs become Ineffective over time?

Employee recognition is the key to ensuring greater employee engagement and keeping the workforce motivated and inspired.

Hence, by acknowledging and appreciating the efforts and achievements of employees, organizations can make them feel valued.

However, there are several reasons why well-designed employee rewards and recognition may fade over time.

So, let’s explore the top reasons for this:

1. Changes in the Profile of the Workforce

An HR Guide to Recognizing Millennials at Work

A challenge for organizations in sustaining the effectiveness of recognition programs is the growing proportion of millennials in the workforce

The needs and expectations of this segment of the workforce are significantly different from previous generations.

So, over time, as millennials increase as a proportion of the workforce, programs originally developed for previous generations might suddenly become irrelevant.

For example, an employee rewards program based on pre-paid cards might have been in vogue till about 2015.

But, today a mobile-app-based digital recognition platform is what is most desirable.

2. Changes in Business Strategy


Over time, there are massive changes in the business environment in which the organization operates.

Hence, these changes prompt significant changes in business models, target marketsglobalization, strategies, etc.

An employee rewards and recognition program once aligned to the original business goals of the organization might have become irrelevant.

For example, the original business strategy of the organization might have been focused on the domestic market. 

Today, it might be looking at a completely global model, doing business across the world and having a presence in multiple countries.

Hence, the original rewards and recognition program design might not be able to cater to the needs of a global business and workforce.

3. Changes in Core Values


The core values of an organization can also change over time. They are closely linked to the vision and mission of the organization as well as its business strategy.

Over time, these may evolve prompted by the business environment. Changes might also be brought about by changes in the top leadership of the organization.

Hence, an employee recognition program must be closely aligned with the core values of the organization.

Recognition can help in acknowledging and rewarding employee behaviors aligned with the core values and reinforce them among the workforce.

If the core values themselves change over time, then the recognition program is very likely to lose its relevance.

4. Changes in Industry Best Practices

Determine What Systems Are Required

Also, changes in technology and consumer behavior over time can make a well-designed employee recognition program lose its relevance.

A case in point is the advent of social media in all facets of work and life.

An employee recognition program designed years earlier might have ignored the importance of integration with social media. Hence, such a program is likely to have become ineffective in today’s context.

Also, older employee recognition programs might have operated in isolation, without any integration with other work systems.

Today, it is imperative that employee recognition systems are integrated with learning management systems, project management systems, customer management systems, and workplace collaboration tools such as Teams and Slack.

What are the Best Practices for Developing a Sustainable Employee Recognition Program?

Faced with the challenges of sustaining the effectiveness of recognition programs over time, organizations need to manage these programs accordingly.

Sustaining Effectiveness of Employee Recognition Programs

The following are some of the best practices that organizations can adopt to sustain the effectiveness of employee recognition programs:

1. Select the Right Technology Platform


The choice of the employee recognition platform is critical to the entire journey over time.

good platform can enable changes to be done easily to keep pace with the changing business requirements. 

Additionally, it can help the organization incorporate the best practices in the industry and advanced features in the program.

So, if the current platform is not flexible enough or doesn’t provide product upgrades, the organization can consider replacing it.

2. Benchmark the Program with the Industry

Determine What Systems Are Required

When an organization implements a new recognition program, it usually does substantial research about what is happening in the industry.

However, this one-time market study and benchmarking are not enough. Hence, if the organization studies other programs regularly, it will be able to stay abreast of the changes. 

The organization could then implement changes in its program proactively, much before it loses its relevance and effectiveness.

3. Keep Measuring the Effectiveness of the Program

Measure The Impact Of The Program

Measuring the benefits of the program on employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention can give early warning signs of any downtrend.

Any dip in the program’s effectiveness should be analyzed and acted upon by making appropriate changes.

4. Develop a System to Capture Employee Feedback

Understand The Relevance Of Customer Recommendation

It is critical to keep seeking regular feedback and inputs from employees based on their experience of the recognition system.

Such inputs can help in tweaking the program from time to time, keeping it relevant for the employees.

 Short feedback surveys of employees can help with the necessary data required to understand the areas of improvement.

5. Maintain an Updated Program Roadmap


Additionally, the organization should keep studying other industry recognition programs and seek feedback and input from its employees.

It should look out for any drop in the effectiveness of the program. Based on these inputs, the organization should update the program roadmap regularly to plan for necessary changes.

Hence, the organization should work closely with its employee recognition platform vendor to plan and execute such changes.


In today’s fast-changing world, even the most well-designed employee recognition program cannot stand the test of time. It cannot deliver the same level of effectiveness without any major changes.

The above best practices can help an organization to extend the program’s validity and usefulness over a long period and still derive the benefits of a highly engaged workforce.

Changes in the program are required to ensure the long-term effectiveness of employee recognition programs.

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

To stay updated on the latest HiFives blogs follow us on Twitter (@MyHiFives)

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.