Employee Recognition Programs can be an essential part of your companies engagement strategy, but are they business critical? Far from being just ‘feel-good’, these programs are becoming more robust and offer a number of aspects that have increased their importance far beyond recognition.

An effective program should be used to highlight many business critical functions in an organization, including:

Emphasizing core values: Core values are an essential focus for successful businesses. The companies who emphasize them and consistently recognize their employees who put them into practice, find dramatic cultural shifts taking place. The list is long and impressive, but here are a few that really stand out. Apple: ‘We don’t settle for anything less than excellence ‘. Zappos: ‘Deliver WOW Through Service’. Virgin: ‘Quality service by empowering our employees‘. Living these core values has separated these companies from their competitors and these values should be the force behind any well-thought out recognition program.

Creating a positive culture: It’s an undisputed fact that positive reinforcement fosters more positive activity. What you focus on becomes reality! Recognition programs should make it easy for employees to feel connected, involved, recognized and rewarded, all key factors in a healthy organization. There are everyday heroes in your workplace, and highlighting them in an open and transparent forum, not only feels good for the recipient, but is also inspiring to those around.

Highlight employee strengths and successes: What do your employees stand for? What are some of the strengths that separate them from each other? A good employee recognition program should highlight these strengths from both the perspective of managers and colleagues. Awards, success stories and strengths should be highlighted for all to see and provide a good overall view of who each of your employees are.

Employee Recognition Programs are not just an extra ‘feel-good’ extension of your company, they should be a driving force behind your culture, and identity. Companies that are buying into this philosophy are making waves, and are defining themselves as leaders in every industry. So what’s your opinion, is your company ready to take the next step?