When building an effective employee recognition program, believing common misconceptions can be a big set back in its success. Here are some myths about employee recognition programs that our team has encountered throughout the years, and how they could be hindering engagement in your company.

Myth: Higher paychecks keep employees happy and motivated.

Fact: While employees should certainly be paid fairly for their contributions to an organization, not all people are motivated by money. A person’s salary should not be treated as a reward or a benefit. When the going gets tough, it’s the people, company culture, and the appreciation employees receive that makes them do their best work.

Implementing a successful employee recognition program provides a central talent management tool to help guide employee performance, maintain and increase engagement, reduce turnover, and foster an improved culture, driving business success. This is something salary alone cannot do.

Myth: Managers do not have time to participate in the program.

Fact: Every program needs champions who will bring awareness of the program and drive it out into the organization. Sometimes, program administrators feel like once the program is launched and they have taken it over the “finish line,” the job is done. The most successful programs are those with leaders who participate in the program and let everyone know they are valued. It’s essential that managers make time to develop their employees and the health of the company.

Myth: People want cash over all other rewards.

Fact: We hear it all the time, cash is king. Employers throw more money at their employees as a reward, expecting them to work harder to improve business. But it has been proven over and over again that cash is far less effective than tangible rewards. Tangible rewards or an experience with thoughtful individual recognition behind it creates positive memories and connections that will last. In fact, people mentally increase the value! This is far more effective than cash.


Myth: The effectiveness of a recognition program cannot be measured.

Fact: Research shows that when organizations formally engage employees through online recognition platforms it helps increase ROI. These programs pay for themselves many times over by increasing productivity and reducing turnover, among other benefits.

Many companies start by simply asking. Employee satisfaction surveys assess employees’ feelings about their engagement with the organization. This feedback provides an opportunity to check on how your program is doing year over year.

A recognition platform should also include reporting that is easy to understand and accessible in real-time. Managers can view employee participation through data on registrations or log-ins, frequency of recognition given and received, and redemption activity. Consistently taking the pulse of a program is key to understanding it’s success.

Myth: High performers get enough recognition and don’t need any extra kudos.

Fact: Just like coffee, there is no such thing as too much recognition. Even top performers can become unhappy, uninspired, and unmotivated. Recognition should be unique to each person, regardless of how they are performing in relation to others, engaging and rewarding them at an individual level. Contrary to the belief that too much recognition will spoil them or create unreasonable expectations, your team will thrive on appreciation and recognition, and you’ll be making the company’s goals and expectations clear for all.

The next time you have a question about how an employee program should be performing, or if you find yourself wondering about a motivation myth, we would be happy to help debunk it!

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About the author

Monica is the Marketing Manager at Next Level Performance, where she develops and manages all marketing programs. She has a passion for art, and - as a resident Millennial - offers important insight into Employee Engagement for this important generation of new arrivals. Favorite travel destination: Iceland.

Monica Hedden
Marketing Manager
mhedden@nxlperformance.com

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