Construct your employee recognition program to engage peak performance

Many employers do something right in an employee recognition program. But those with the best employee recognition programs do much more. Not by accident, these are usually the organizations where employees work hardest and are happiest. Such top organizations use all of the building blocks of recognition, constructing a recognition network that engages employees in multiple ways and at multiple times.

The employee recognition program building blocks

There are four main building blocks:

  1. Day-to-day recognition
    This can be anything from a handshake to a thank-you note for a discrete task well done. Also in this category are such things as team lunches, spot award certificates, and invitations to people to take an extra afternoon off. Day-to-day recognition is usually low-cost.
  2. Above-and-beyond recognition.
    This category applies to people who have, say, provided exceptional customer service, exceeded a sales goal by a big percentage, or implemented an innovative, effective business improvement. This kind of award may have a significant cost, so should be limited to exceptional performance.
  3. Celebration events.
    This is a group recognition technique. You can celebrate the successful completion of a key project, the achievement of record business results, company anniversaries, or new product launches. Use your imagination.
  4. Career recognition.
    This involves recognizing employee milestones with the organization: one year, two years, five years, etc. Career recognition provides a great opportunity for managers to praise employees for good work done consistently over time – kind of like the Lifetime Achievement award at the Oscars. Note: Career recognition is relatively easy, but underused. This is an area where you can boost your recognition program rapidly and inexpensively.

Source: “The Carrot Principle,” by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton

1 Comment

  • Suki says:

    An old boss of mine used to say it was never a good idea to praise an employee too much or they’d ask you for a raise! I guess she was old school.

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