Top 3 Reasons Employee Recognition Programs Fail

Samantha Mikos

According to a research survey conducted by World at Work, employee engagement is the largest indicator of company success. Formal recognition programs are on the rise to boost morale, motivation and employee commitment in the workplace. Many companies fail to adapt and enhance company culture to keep employees engaged, and ultimately, employee recognition programs lose their value.

As the workforce continues to expand and differentiate from previous standards, modes of employee recognition must adjust with it. Recognition programs that have been running a traditional approach must see revisions. Outdated methodology, flawed praise and inconsistent employee recognition are the top three ways in which many employee recognition programs fail. 

The Recognition Process Must Evolve 

Gone are the days of praising accomplishments with commodified awards. This process strips meaning from the sentiment and does not connect the reward to the recipient.  

Instead, ask employees for feedback on your program to find out how to adapt to their needs. There is no one-size-fits-all for recognition, so it is vital to make sure that the program suits every individual. 


Internally, this will help employees identify with a reward better. By keeping programs current and lively, employees will feel the sincere appreciation.  

Unique ways of enhancing programs could be to incorporate interactive awards and designs. Create a custom award that an employee can touch and experience daily. This will be a reminder to their successes and allow them to strive to greater heights. 

Celebrate Employees Properly 

If your company cannot identify with the recognition program rewards, chances are, the employees are not being celebrated the right way. 

Although the employee of the month award sounds like a great idea, it is a very general and broad approach to recognition. Try celebrating achievements beyond financial driven success. Specific commemoration that pertains to the character of the employee, such as “Teamwork Guru” or “Top Innovative Designer” can solidify the bond of the recipient and recognition. 

Understanding the needs and concerns of employees will help identify what ways to commemorate their successes, but it is only one component. A recognition reward does not hold weight if the company identity is not also being represented. Employees may then interpret praise as artificial and devoid of meaning, so be sure to allow your brand identity to play a role in the award design

Strategy That Emanates Consistency 

Another prominent mistake that companies make is recognition consistency. By saving employee praise and recognition for a once a year event, it is difficult for employees to feel motivated. Also, it is hard to identify with daily goals with just one, pivotal moment. 

The pressure to achieve these goals can alienate individuals as well. If an award event occurs once a year, employees may have a hard time connecting to the end-goal.  

This also deviates from day-to-day culture and employee best practices. By creating multiple instances of recognition to celebrate employees, goals become an internal motivation to reach new standards. 

Not all employees have the same motivation. Learn how Cristaux can help customize employee recognition programs to accommodate for all employee needs.