Employee Recognition Basics - Employee Recognition 101
You've come to this page wondering how to improve morale, recognize
your employees. Or perhaps your current Employee Recognition program is not meeting your
goals, or the Return On Investment of
your current Employee Recognition program has caused you to look for other
several important keys to creating and implementing a
successful Employee Recognition Program...
Employee Recognition Program buy-in from your employees is
important, but only after the basic program concepts have
been determined by you. In other words, it is unlikely a
Employee Recognition program based upon an employee survey
will be successful in meeting your Employee Recognition program
Simple... everyone* prefers cash. (*not always - see
the article on
Unfortunately cash is the least effective method of
Employee Recognition. Specifics of an
industry study which detail statistical disadvantages of
cash Employee Recognition award programs are found here: Incentive Industry Survey.
management recognition, using merchandise and travel are the
primary motivation drivers, and most preferred and
beneficial to companies, in terms of Residual Motivational
line: 50% of employees who receive cash Employee Recognition awards
in the proceeding year either do not remember what they used
it for, or used it to pay down credit card debt. While
everyone wants cash, it is seldom utilized or remembered the
way merchandise or travel is.
Now, as an
example, lets look at merchandise (specifically on-line
merchandise award programs) or Employee Recognition programs
utilizing travel awards. I often say to prospective clients,
who usually have had some personal successful sales
experience - think back... remember the times you
received cash? Can you even remember what you received
Even worse, I bet you have no clue as to what you used it
for! Now think about merchandise awards...I'll bet you not only
remember what you got it for, but have fond memories of
receiving and using it, hoping to earn similar awards in
The point is, there's a scientific reason for the success of
Employee Recognition programs which utilize travel and
merchandise: It's the BRAIN, or more precisely, how
the brain functions!
shows that the way the brain processes information is
responsible for non-cash rewards having a greater impact on
people than cash awards. Offers of non-cash rewards are
visualized or imaged by the right hemisphere of the brain.
Such images or mental pictures trigger emotional responses
which can be quite powerful.
Conversely, offers of strictly monetary rewards are
processed by the left hemisphere, which lacks the ability to
create images. When a monetary offer is received, the brain's
left hemisphere assesses the information and determines
whether the offer is sufficient, relative to the time or
effort required to earn it. The emotional response is what
drive behavior, not rational thought. With cash, its reduced
to one issue - simply how much.
Got it? Here's the basic equation:
Cash = Left Brain-(analytical Side)/How Much$$$?
Merchandise and Travel = Right Brain-(Emotional)/Fantasy
Employee Recognition award programs utilizing merchandise
and/or travel awards are 3X (Three Times) more effective
than Recognition programs using just cash rewards, as shown
"Take as much
as you want, just clean your plate". Did you get that
as a kid? I did... the key here is that from our
youngest years, most of us are taught NOT TO BE WASTEFUL.
This translates to - "Hey, if you get a cash award, spend it
wisely... constructively... don't waste it on toys or
vacations when there are more pressing things that need
attention... that new roof, for example. Figure 2 below,
demonstrates that over 70% of respondents feel that
purchasing a merchandise or travel award, such as the one(s)
typically offered in an Employee Recognition on-line award
program, would not be a justifiable expense.
If you want to
create a lasting impression, drive future desired behaviors
and encourage similar positive results by other
participants, studies demonstrate that a VIP-level personal
vacation or super lifestyle merchandise awards will be most
successful approach to reach your goal.
Voila! Using cash to reward??? Hello new roof, Goodbye
Employee Recognition! Using merchandise or travel?
Welcome to your success!
Do not lightly
undertake any Employee Recognition program lightly. Talk to experts
first. Once you start a cash or gift card program,
it’s very hard to take it away.
Many companies find out the hard way, once they've begun a
cash-based employee reward program and realize it was a
mistake - and employees perceive the change as a negative,
Instead, work to slowly wean off of cash over a period of 3
years. Structuring the change carefully makes it easier to
swallow for your employees.
For more info
on structuring a successful Employee Recognition program,
talk to us first:
firstname.lastname@example.org, or request info online at