Key Trends in Employee Recognition in 2022

Employee recognition is perhaps one of the most important contributing factors towards boosting workforce morale, enhancing productivity, and building a positive work environment. A recent survey has revealed that employee recognition helps improve employee retention by as much as 87%. Let’s gaze into the crystal ball and see the key trends in employee recognition in 2022 that organizations should consider while designing their HR game plan for the year.

What will drive Changes in Employee Recognition in 2022?

Between 2020 and 2021, the workplace has seen massive shifts in its operating model, driven primarily by the pandemic and its aftermath. Organizations have adopted hybrid and digital working in a way never seen before in such a short span of time.

No doubt this momentum of change will carry forward even in 2022 and bring in significant changes in the HR landscape. Employee rewards and recognition too should see significant changes in sync with the overall changes in the HR model.

What will be the Key Trends in Employee Recognition in 2022?

Given the huge acceleration of changes in HR models over the last two years, 2022 is likely to see big changes in the way organizations manage their employee rewards and recognition.

Here are the key employee recognition trends in 2022 that can help organizations devise the right policies for implementing programs effectively and maximizing business benefits:

1. Employee Recognition in Traditional Industries

2022 should see a far greater adoption of employee rewards and recognition by organizations in more traditional and mature industries such as manufacturing, construction, retail and logistics. These industries have predominantly blue and grey collared employees.

Traditionally, employees in these organizations have been left out of such programs. Or such programs would have been restricted only to the white-collared staff in the organization.  However, there have been big changes in the habits and preferences of blue-collared employees. Though less qualified than their white-collared counterparts, they are reasonably digitally savvy and are big users of mobile apps such as social media and online shopping.

Hence, we should see a significant increase in the rollout of employee recognition programs in traditional industries, powered by digital recognition apps and platforms.

2. Bigger push towards Digital

The exponential rise of remote working teams and hybrid workplaces has resulted in a significant rise in the popularity of digital recognition solutions. Existing rewards and recognition programs are likely to get digitized at an even faster pace to generate higher efficiencies, higher effectiveness, and eventually higher returns on investments.

‘Go digital’ is the mantra for all organizations, across industries. HR processes especially employee recognition is on the radar of most organizations in their push towards digital.

3. More Global Programs

Hybrid and remote working have brought employees across multiple locations closer and resulted in higher levels of collaboration. Organizations are now looking at global rewards and recognition programs that can cover their entire workforce, no matter where they are based.

Obviously, the use of digital platforms will enable organizations to roll out and manage global recognition programs seamlessly without too much administrative overheads. These platforms can also ensure that a fair bit of localization is possible including the language, currency and reward options to take care of cultural nuances.

4. Tighter Linkages with KRAs and Work Systems

Historically, employee recognition programs have operated in isolation. They have been predominantly driven by manual nominations from managers and team leaders based on their qualitative assessment of the employees’ achievements or performance against the predefined criteria for recognition.

In 2022, we should see a greater movement towards building stronger linkages between the KRAs, recognition criteria and the actual act of recognition.  We would see deeper integration between employee recognition platforms and work systems such as CRM, PMS and LMS. Employee achievements or performance metrics captured in these systems would trigger recognition in the recognition system through integration, if the criteria are met.

This will make the whole process of recognition more data-driven, transparent and real-time.  Employees will be able align their efforts towards over-achieving their targets; knowing well that they would receive rewards and recognition once they get there.

5. Gamification of Work

In 2022, organizations should be looking at driving increasing gamification of work through employee rewards and recognition programs. The use of digital employee recognition platforms, complete with rewards points, digital badges, leaderboards, e-certificates, e-gift cards, and mobile apps should become much more prevalent.

These game elements will help organizations enhance the employee experience of these programs and make them more interesting and appealing. This in turn will help in motivating and engaging the employees more effectively and drive higher participation in employee recognition programs.

6. Recognition for Driving Engagement

‘All work and no play make Jack a dull boy’ –this popular adage will drive more and more organizations to turn towards gamification of work in 2022. With a growing proportion of millennials in the workforce, organizations would need to look beyond the ‘run-out-of-the-mill’ rewards and recognition programs to engage their employees and drive greater impact.

2022 should see an increasing use of informal or fun awards, aimed at creating a positive, informal and fun-filled environment at work. Rewards and recognition will also become an integral part of most employee engagement activities, be it fun-at-work or team building.

This will help organizations drive higher levels of interest, participation and involvement of employees in such programs. That, in turn will enhance the effectiveness and impact of the programs.

7. Recognition as a Culture Building Tool

Recognition is a powerful tool in the HR toolkit. In 2022, we should see more widespread use of recognition to drive specific behaviors among the workforce that are aligned to the core values and the desired culture of the organization.

Promoting peer-to-peer recognition will enable organizations to create a more positive work environment and reinforce their core values among their employees. The cultural impact of employee recognition will become much more profound in 2022.

8. Recognition for Learning and Development

The massive shifts in the operating models of organizations have placed tremendous focus on upskilling and talent development. Learning and development will be one of the top HR priorities for organizations in 2022.

Organizations should leverage employee rewards and recognition as an effective way to motivate and engage employees in the learning journeys. Employee can be rewarded and recognized for achieving their learning milestones, through monetary benefits and social visibility.

Rewards and recognition for learning and development can be achieved through gamification of the entire learning process. Learning management systems (LMS) will get increasingly integrated with employee recognition platforms. This will enable employees to get rewarded and recognized in real-time as they go through the process.

Read the A Guide to Rewards and Recognition for Learning and Development

Bottom-line

Understanding the key trends in employee recognition in 2022 can help organizations formulate the right programs or make appropriate changes in existing ones, to maximize their impact, in the face of massive changes in the business environment.

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