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Posted on 15 July 2021

Five great examples of employee recognition and reward

4 minute read

It’s always helpful to have good examples of employee recognition and reward if you’re looking at implementing a new initiative or programme within your organisation. But why are recognition and reward so important? From an early age, many of us crave recognition and reward (often, without even knowing it). A well done from our teachers for learning something new, a pat on the back from your parents after buying your first property, or a £10 note carefully placed in a birthday card.

These patterns around recognition and reward continue to be true as we move into the workplace, as it helps to:

  1. Increase employee engagement
  2. Retain top talent
  3. Encourage high performance

How recognition and reward are changing

In the last few years, the world of recognition and reward has become paramount in the way employers (and employees) look at the working world. As Entrepreneur puts it, “old-fashioned forms of appreciation do not cut it in a new world.” When searching for new career opportunities, many employees look for signs that organisations put time and effort into making their employees feel appreciated and valued.

Employers who recognise the value of recognition and reward will reap the benefits, as research shows organisations with strategic peer-to-peer recognition programmes are 48% more likely to experience high staff engagement. More specifically, employees appreciate gifts, merchandise, cash, gift cards or personalised symbols as the most impactful rewards.

But for these employee engagement activities to have value, they must be authentic and genuine. If done right, recognition from a fellow team member or manager will increase value, satisfaction and performance.

The best ways to recognise and reward

There are plenty of ways to reward and recognise your staff. Some are more novel than others, but it all boils down to maintaining a positive workforce, putting your employees at the centre and aligning recognition and reward activities to your company culture.

We’ve collated various recognition and reward examples from well-known organisations to give you some food for thought.

1. Play days and time-out

Who doesn’t love LEGO®? Apart from when you stand on it (yes, it really hurts).

Did you know that every year, LEGO® employees worldwide take a day off work play with their product? Talking about their 2021 play day, one of the owners of the toy company said: “It was great to have fun playing together with colleagues. We know the benefits that Learning-through-Play brings to children, and the benefits for adults are just as great and important. Play Day is about inspiring all our colleagues around the world to be more playful.”

LEGO®’s day off is similar to a form of recognition becoming popular recently – “burnout breaks”. Many companies, such as Mozilla and Bumble, are taking the lead by giving staff time off to recuperate and ensure that their mental health remains in a good state. You can read more about burnout breaks in our recent article.

2. Day-to-day recognition and reward

Motley Fool, an investors solutions provider, decided that one day a year (Employee Appreciation Day in March) was simply not enough to recognise all the great things their employees do. Instead, they facilitate daily recognition with a recognition tool that allows them to give shout-outs that get converted into prizes.

With their employees sharing around 35 recognitions per day, the programme has been deemed a massive success for their UK head office.

Volvo Car UK achieved something similar with the Rippl incentives, recognition and reward platform. By supplementing incentives and rewards in the platform with “free” recognition from peers, managers and Volvo head office, the manufacturer has since experienced an increase in performance.

The most engaged region on Volvo’s Rippl platform managed to perform 30% higher in sales incentives compared to the other regions. What’s more, the same region outperformed the rest of the network in 80% of incentives for the same period, demonstrating that output is maximised when someone feels valued, informed and connected.

3. Long service awards

Another key part of employee engagement is long service. That is, offering some form of recognition or reward when your employees reach a certain milestone.

Automotive parts and accessories retailer Halfords recently gifted employee Jeff Grimbly £5,000 for his stellar 57-year career with the brand and publicised the celebration on their LinkedIn company page. Jeff travelled up and down the country in various roles within the company – helping customers, finding solutions and performing above and beyond. Halford’s considerable financial reward demonstrates how highly Jeff was thought of and demonstrates how important it is to recognise and reward your long-serving staff.

Another great example of long service recognition was by Midlands Truck & Van, who said goodbye to Bill Loughrey, who had spent an incredible 48 years with the business. Whilst the company could share their well wishes and farewell on LinkedIn, celebrations like these could be elevated on an internal platform that shares these fantastic stories of commitment amongst existing staff.

4. Unique gifts

How does a customised jacket from Adidas sound for each year of service? That’s what employees at Groupon receive, and they’re allowed to customise the jacket with a nickname or other fun titbit.

This unique reward from the online discount retailer demonstrates a great example of how companies can gift their employees. Doing this helps minimise recruitment and training costs because a happier worker, recognised regularly, will remain with you for longer.

One of our customers, Asda, uses golden tickets to thank hard-to-reach employees on the shop floor. When the unique code is redeemed from the golden ticket handed to them, employees can choose from a gift or bag points in their reward wallet, which can be spent on their version of our platform, known as ‘Asda Stars’.

5. Nominating your superstars

Another great way to facilitate recognition is through the use of nomination campaigns. These campaigns are designed to highlight employee contributions that sit outside of day-to-day moments. When they arise, they provide an opportunity to build recognition and appreciate your people.

Mercedes-Benz Vans hold a yearly celebratory dinner event to celebrate “heroes” in the network. Using the Nominations tool in their Rippl platform, they invite people in the retailer network to nominate their peers in categories such as “Customer Dedication” and “Unsung Hero”.

The winners, chosen by internal stakeholders at Mercedes-Benz are shared on the social timeline, allowing peers to celebrate the positive and inspiring stories. You can read more about how they use social engagement to drive performance across the network here.

Why are nomination campaigns so useful? They help leaders and managers draw out the amazing stories happening in their organisation that they otherwise have limited visibility of. They also help companies build a sense of community and culture.

We hope you’ve found these real-life examples of employee recognition and reward useful. Discover how our customers benefit from our combined incentives, recognition and reward platform – ‘Rippl’ – to support their people engagement strategy.