3 Simple Steps to Effective Employee Recognition

You just want to do something nice to motivate your team while trying to improve your company’s culture and workplace environment.

Why make it harder than it has to be?

Based on mountains of evidence, an effective employee recognition program can do all of those things mentioned above… and more!

Doing it right can be achieved with 3 simple steps.

Step 1 – Set Goals & Determine Criteria 

To have a successful program, you have to start with a solid foundation

Our clients who see the best results all have great criteria chosen by their management team designed to increase performance.

Rewarding your employees for the right things is the only way to see a true difference in their performance.

These areas must be directly related to what is needed for your business to grow.

Remember: “What gets rewarded gets repeated!”

The more measurable and specific your criteria is for selecting winners, the greater the positive effect the program will have, especially if this is clearly expressed to the associates.

You can’t hit a target you don’t see.

Make it easy for them by showing your team members what you want to see improved in your business.

Tie it to things that actually increase your sales and profits.

Great questions to ask are:

  1. What is the main goal of our company?
  2. If achieved, what areas of performance would make us stand out in our market/district?
  3. What areas of performance would we like to improve in our location?

Here are some examples of great criteria to get you started:

  1. Attitude (Willing to help? Goes above and beyond?)
  2. Performance goals (Completes tasks on time? Exceeds measurable goals?)
  3. Team Player (Works well with others to complete goals?)
  4. Punctuality
  5. Professionalism (Represent the company’s image? Great customer service?)



Step 2 – Monitor Criteria & Track Performance

Download FREE Criteria Tracking Sheets: CLICK HERE.

Now that you have a foundation for your Program, it’s time to bring the Team Members on board!

Download and fill out the Criteria Tracking Sheet that best fits your business.

Make sure that the criteria you have chosen are directly related to your company goals.

Set the goals too high and it is discouraging, set them too low and it won’t be effective.

Where is the happy medium?

Once you have it filled out, get everyone together and talk through what each criteria means.

Answer any questions and clarify exactly how they will be able to WIN the award.

Remember that this award will not just be given, but has to be earned!

Once it has been presented, post the Tracking Sheet up where it will be visible to everyone on a daily basis. (Perhaps the break room?)

Update the scores at least 1x each week so that everyone can see where they are leading and where they can improve.

Use this as coaching opportunities for your team to share knowledge and improve together!

Remember: “What gets rewarded gets repeated!”


Step 3 – Now It’s Time to Celebrate!

Don’t stop now… Finish Strong! 

This can seem like a simple thing, but don’t forget to recognize your winners!

After taking so much time to build confidence in your team, make sure that getting your winners recognized in a timely fashion is a priority.

The success of the whole program can be won or lost with this step, and you want to make sure that you are successful!

Staying current with turning in winners is a huge factor in keeping the goals and winning criteria fresh on employees’ minds each month.

You want your top performers each month to be motivated to do it all over again at the beginning of the next month along with the rest of the team.

The quicker you can give them that “pat on the back,” the more effective it will be.

RandR5x7Make a HUGE deal out of the presentation of the winners.

Without this crucial element there is no excitement to strive to win next month.

Your “monthly meeting” would be an ideal time.

Take a picture of the management team presenting the award (with the winning employees in the middle), and actually give them a copy so they can remember their special and memorable day forever.

Make sure that you make the winners feel important.

Remember that without these team members your business would not be where it is today.

Let them know that it means alot to you that they are there.

Remember: “What gets rewarded gets repeated!”

It is important to:

  1. Utilize social media, company newsletters, email updates and any other communication tool to announce the winner.
  2. Make sure that it is a large gathering! Include employees, clients and customers. Everyone gets to celebrate your success!
  3. Talk about the reasons that person won.
  4. Applaud and takes pictures with the managers with the winner.
  5. Remember, when you make it a big deal they will feel like it’s a big deal.
  6. Your attitude is the key!


You now have the necessary tools to drive performance and each new company initiative for the future.

Remember to keep your criteria current, monitor and track performance, and make a huge deal about why they are being recognized.



Star Culture

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