Measuring the Success of Employee Recognition Programs

Employee recognition programs have become one of the most effective means for motivation and engagement of the workforce. Measuring the success of employee recognition programs is essential for justifying the investment of time, effort and money in them for driving employee motivation.

Need for Measuring Success of Employee Recognition Programs

The old saying that something that cannot be measured cannot be managed – sums up the need to measure the performance of employee recognition programs. When done in the right manner, an employee recognition program can ensure a wide range of benefits for an organization.

The least of these is a considerable improvement in the overall employee productivity and their level of commitment and dedication towards the organization. However, in order to get these benefits, it is important for organizations to ensure that the program is performing as expected.

In this context, let’s take a look at the most effective ways to measure the performance and success of these programs.

What are the ways for Measuring the Success of Employee Recognition?

Most organizations fail to measure the success of their employee recognition program because they are not sure about how to go about it. This means that the organizations are unaware of the strategies and tools to be used for measuring the performance of recognition programs.

Discussed below are a few effective ways that organizations can use for the same:

1. Seeking direct feedback from employees

This is perhaps one of the simplest yet most effective ways to measure the performance of employee recognition. By soliciting the feedback of employees, organizations can gain a better insight into the views and opinions of the individual members of the workforce about the employee rewards and recognition program.

It also helps to understand that the things they are doing are considered right and things that they need to improve upon to get better results from the program. The feedback can be taken through a questionnaire to be filled by every member of the workforce or even through one-to-one interaction with them through their supervisors.

2. Measuring employee satisfaction

Another effective way of measuring the performance of recognition programs is to measure the before and after satisfaction levels of the employees. This can be done by conducting surveys where employees are required to answer questions that can help organizations access the overall satisfaction level of the members of its workforce as well as answering specific questions related to their views about the organization’s rewards and recognition practices.

An increase in the employee satisfaction level is indicative of the fact that the employee recognition program is driving a positive impact though there might be room for further improvement. However, a dip or no change in the satisfaction levels might reflect the fact that the program might not be doing much good to the employee motivation levels and needs to be tweaked soon.

Specific questions related to employee recognition in an overall employee satisfaction survey can help pinpoint the areas of improvement of the program.

Once it is identified that the program is underperforming, the organization could get direct feedback from the employees about the program or specific aspects of it, either through a short survey or through one-on-one interaction. These inputs can be valuable in making modifications in the program design and implementation to make it more effective.

3. Analyzing the changes in retention rates

A major benefit of a successful employee recognition program is that it helps organizations improve their talent retention rates. Thus, analyzing the changes in retention rates can also help organizations measure the success of their recognition program.

Obviously, organizations understand that there are many other factors at play when it comes to employee retention. Even a flat retention rate can be indicative of the program being effective to some extent. However, this data needs to be corroborated with inputs from exit interviews that should contain questions related to rewards and recognition practices of the organization and its impact on the employee.

4. Assessing behavioral changes

Even though this may seem to be an intangible way of measuring the performance and success of an employee recognition program, it is no less effective. In fact, careful assessment of the changes in the known behavior patterns of employees can help organizations better understand the efficiency of their recognition programs than most surveys.

If the employees show a greater willingness to contribute towards organizational growth, and seem to be more cooperative and display a more satisfied and happy attitude at work, it can be indicative of the success of recognition programs. However, such behavioral changes have to be monitored and assessed over a specified time period to ensure their relevance to the recognition programs.

Any negative behavioral changes or the lack of it also need to be monitored closely as they can indicate the failure of a recognition program. This enables the management to take timely action to modify the program to get better results.

More often than not employee recognition programs are designed to drive certain behavioral changes in employees, mostly in alignment with the corporate values. If those desired behavioral changes are not happening in a reasonable time frame, then it might be apt to relook at the program design and implementation and modify it to drive better results.


Measuring the success of employee recognition programs is critical to assess the return on investment in them made by organizations. It also helps in showing the genuine intent of the organization of improving these programs in the eyes of the employees, which in itself can prove to be a motivating factor for them.

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