A good employee recognition program is designed to recognize and reward employees who go above and beyond the call of duty to further the company’s vision. When the program is implemented effectively, it promotes employee motivation and innovation, fosters workplace efficiency, and improves customer satisfaction as a result.

But research shows that not all recognition is effective; the key is to make it meaningful for the individual. But where do you start? Here are five steps for designing and implementing an employee recognition program that works.

1. Determine the aim of the recognition program

The first thing any recognition program needs is a goal and a purpose. You want to make sure it aligns with the company’s goals and mission. In general, there are some goals that all effective programs share: it should inspire employees to work hard, let them know how they can best make a difference, and it should be clear how to participate in the program.

But you also need to figure out specific objectives. For instance, if you’re wanting to work on the quality of your company’s customer service, you might think about a program that encourages employees to go out of their way to put the customer first and to brainstorm ways that they can better serve the customer. provide stellar customer service.

2. Develop program guidelines and criteria

You want rules and regulations, but not so stringent that they discourage participation. It should not be so time-consuming that it detracts from their other work. Determine whether the program will be open to all employees, just full-time, everyone except temps and interns, etc.

Can the same person receive the reward multiple times? Will it be based on peer nomination, or will the managers select who is recognized? A type of gamification is often fun, where points are scored and it’s more of direct competition; it’s a good way to make employees more excited about participating. The criteria should be as clear and easily accessible as possible to ensure that your program is viewed as fair.

3. Form a committee

The committee is responsible for designing the program, implementing it, and maintaining it once it is put into action. Try to recruit a relatively equal combination of management and employees to ensure fair representation, and have them elect a chair and co-chair to oversee the process. Decide how long committee “terms” will be, how many members it will consist of, and how they are selected, and make it a privilege to serve on the committee.

4. Decide on your reward(s). Generally speaking, the award doesn’t need to be expensive, but it should be desirable enough that employees want to work for it. Award plaques, tickets to local events, and gift cards to upscale restaurants are common incentives.

Or you could get feedback from employees and figure out what types of rewards would interest them, because while most people do enjoy being recognized, they don’t all enjoy it in the same way.

Some people consider it an honor to be recognized publicly or in front of a crowd, while others don’t enjoy a spotlight and may prefer more private recognition. Another option to consider is online platforms like Anyperk or OC Tanner that allow employees to choose their own reward; these make it easy to individualize the process.

5. Market the program and implement it

Make sure employees know about the program and its perks! Get them excited and keep them aware of deadlines. You could hold a meeting or small ceremony where you announce the program and share a brief but clear overview, post flyers, and send out emails.

Have a specific start date for the program, and develop a way to track progress and the effect the program has on your business. Are your goals being met? Are the areas you chose to focus on seeing improvement?

Let us know about your own recognition program success stories, and if you found this list helpful, don’t forget to share it!