First-time login tip: If you're a REBA Member, you'll need to reset your password the first time you login.
02 Apr 2024
by David Bernard

6 steps to making recognition a career-long experience

Frequent, tailored recognition experiences can create high levels of employee engagement and a powerful sense of belonging

6 steps to making recognition a career-long experience.jpg 1


Motivating employees throughout their careers requires deliberate and personalised acts of recognition, as part of a well thought through recognition programme.

Frequent, tailored recognition experiences spread through each year of an employee’s career, rather than taking place infrequently for the largest and most notable achievements, has the greatest impact.

Organisations that do this cultivate high levels of employee engagement, a powerful sense of belonging and great work, over and over again.

Here’s what an effective recognition programme looks like.

1. Onboarding recognition

From day one, employees must be recognised and appreciated. This must go beyond ‘we’re glad you’re here, have a branded pen’.

At a minimum, it should include a note from their leader and welcome card from colleagues, a symbolic award to commemorate the individual joining the company and various branded goodies.

Ideally it should also include food catered for by the company, time to socialise with colleagues and the opportunity to be recognised and to recognise others for their support.

As it stands, just 43% of employees report an onboarding experience that was more than just a day of orientation and a folder of benefits.

2. Celebrating efforts and achievements

Every employee must be regularly appreciated for their daily efforts and achievements, not just the big wins.

When an individual demonstrates the right type of behaviours such as innovation or excellent teamwork, or achieves something worthy of praise, this must be shouted out and the individual recognised – ideally in front of managers and peers.

A culture of integrated recognition means all employees witness moments of appreciation on a daily basis.

3. Peer-to-peer recognition

Employees should be encouraged to regularly appreciate their colleagues as this not only strengthens engagement, it also nurtures a strong sense of community and belonging.

This can be done through simple handwritten ‘thank you’ notes or via a platform that allows recognition giving as part of the employee’s flow of work.

4. Career anniversaries

It’s vital for employees to be celebrated at different points in their career – at one, three, five, 10, 15 years and so on, with the celebration made personal and meaningful.

A ‘year book’ in which managers, colleagues and even family members have the opportunity to write a personal message to the individual being recognised is a powerful touch, together with arranging a formal ceremony that involves presenting a symbolic award.

This ensures the moment is even more effective and memorable, with a thriving culture at least 187 per cent more likely when a symbolic award is used as part of a career celebration.

5. Company celebrations

As well as celebrating individual accomplishments, the company must also celebrate its own milestones and successes, while ensuring every employee feels an important part of the those achievements.

Formal celebrations for hitting sales targets, and launching new exciting products and HR initiatives, for example, must be used to bring everyone together, strengthening that sense of shared purpose and connection.

6. Life events

Employees must feel that they can be themselves at work and that they’re cared for by their leaders and colleagues.

And this must be reinforced by celebrating with and/or supporting employees during important moments in their lives, from engagements and becoming parents through to sporting achievements and birthdays. Organisations that nurture strong communities are 13 times more likely to have thriving cultures.

Keeping employees engaged and motivated is a challenge for many organisations, especially once the onboarding ‘honeymoon period’ is over.

The key is to integrate recognition into the everyday employee experience and various moments throughout an individual’s life. From small successes to huge personal milestones, recognition and support must become second nature while ensuring it’s always given with purpose and meaning.

In partnership with O. C. Tanner

Giving teams the integrated tools they need when, where and how they need them.

Contact us today