How to Master Employee Recognition

When it comes to employee recognition — a couple different initiatives might come to mind. It’s importance is well established with numerous reports over the years showing it’s link to the growth, transformation and performance of organisations. Along with the health and development of employees themselves.


As a result of this, there has been no shortage of HR blog posts, books and videos on the subject. Flooding the topic with hundreds, up to thousands of initiatives to recognise employees — saturating discussion. Today, it’s hard to find reliable information on what works and what doesn’t. Below we’ve talked about our top research-backed ideas to recognise employees and also covered some common mistakes.


Our top tactics
  • Create a work culture that encourages recognition. Providing gratitude following the successful competition of a task was shown to be effective in a 69-participant study in the U.S. The study showed that continual gratitude toward task completion increased participant helpfulness and productivity. Companies should then be working to create a culture that consistently recognises employees on a day-to-day basis.
  • Whilst it seems that there is definitely a move towards more consistent, and subtle, recognition in 2022. According to C. Tanner 41% of employees believe that recognition for going above and beyond is the best way to encourage them. This is where material gifts may come into play or, growth opportunities are another option. Think about extending them an invitation to an executive meeting, or assigning them a special project.
  • Include top performers in a company newsletter. Research has shown that recognising employees in a public manner helps to improve the overall performance of a company. Surprisingly, a large amount of this performance increase comes from those who did not receive recognition.

Employee Recognition



Quick Tip

Results from a controlled field experiment of 300 participants suggests that the level of exclusivity in employee recognition is a key factor in its effectiveness. The study found that in a group of eight workers, recognition seemed to work best when only three workers received it. Effectiveness decreased when recognition was too inclusive (eight workers) or too exclusive (only one worker).


The reason for this is that performance increases were largely seen in those workers who did not receive recognition. The research team noted conformity as a reason for the increase. The finding is particularly important to organisations seeking to improve performance of their least-productive workers.

Employee Recognition


Tactics to put on the backburner
  • Employee of the month: Recently, growing criticism has been shed on the employee of the month recognition system. Many critics are concerned that the system promoted unhealthy internal competition, adds to employee stress, and is overall damaging to company culture.
  • Tenure: A research project conducted by Forbes found that tenure-based rewards systems had virtually no impact on organizational performance. They also found that although most large companies today have tenure programs in place, only 58% of employees are actually aware of them.

Employee Recognition


Measuring recognition & designing a solution

A CiVS survey can track the effectiveness of recognition programs, employee satisfaction, and other metrics related to the topic of employee recognition. The results from this survey can help your company cut costs by discovering insights that help to form efficient recognition programs, leading to more engaged and productive employees.

If you are eager to learn more about the CiVS survey process, please give us a call at (08) 6314 0580 or email