Rewards and Recognition (R&R) programs are great ways to appreciate, reward, and recognize employees and their contributions to the organization. R&R programs are great ways to boost performance, identify and nurture talent, and make employees feel valued.

Now, different organizations have different ways of creating and implementing reward and recognition programs. Such programs are launched with many aspirations, with the management investing considerable time, money, and effort in them.

Do all these programs work? Unfortunately, not. A lot of them fizzle out halfway, and a few of the programs don’t even take off in the first place. Read on to know why.

Why do some reward and recognition programs fail?

There are several common reasons why some reward and recognition programs fail. It is essential you know about such reasons and steer clear of them when you create a brand-new R&R strategy.

1.      Inconsistent rewarding and recognizing

Let’s say you last rewarded an employee six month back. After that, the R&R program has remained inactive. Then, the HR team suddenly sends out a mail about a new award being given to someone else. After that, there is no action again for the next few months. When the R&R programs and employee recognition ideas are inconsistent and randomly implemented, employees neither have interest in them nor do they value them.

2.      Lack of interest from the management

Often, the management loses interest in these R&R programs in a few months, stating problems like lack of funding or the absence of visible results. As a result, such programs slowly flicker and burn out. Multiple such failures can lead to employees not treating these programs seriously.

3.      Flawed and exaggerated praise

Employees have a clear idea about their performance over the year. So, when you start giving out random awards and endorsements just for the sake of them, without the employee actually being worthy, these reward and recognition programs don’t get valued. Employees stop taking pride in receiving such flawed praises too. Such implementation also comes across as un-authentic praise and does no good to the adoption of programs.

4.      Disconnect with the reward and recognition programs

If the reward and recognition program is too cumbersome, involves too many restriction or is boring, employees stop taking an interest. Lack of consistent communication also leads to not having a unified understanding on what various programs stand for and what is expected out of employees to demonstrate for these programs. When there is a disconnect between what the employees expect in an R&R program and what gets offered, these programs are bound to fail.

5.      Outdated R&R programs

This is one of the main reasons why employee recognition ideas and R&R programs fail. Unfortunately, some organizations still follow old principles, recognition tools and techniques to reward and recognize people.

There are various studies that show that more than 45% of employees feel their recognition programs areoutdated and stale.

In most cases, changing the technology used and coming up with more ingenious ideas to reward and recognize employees can make a considerable difference in improving the adoption and therefore the value of these programs.

Why are employee recognition programs essential?

Recognizing employees for the good work that they do impacts a number of quantifiable factors like retention rate, productivity levels, low absenteeism, and engagement.

Here are the reasons why reward and recognition programs are essential for any organization, irrespective of the industry and size.

Improved engagement

An engaged employee is more productive, committed, and engaged at work. Experts say that engaged employees, when compared to satisfied employees, can be up to 50% more productive. The employee engagement levels improve when they are timely and appropriately recognized and rewarded.

Higher top talent retention rates

Retaining top talent is becoming a challenging task nowadays for the Human Resources department and the management. The attrition rate in India in 2020 was about 16%, which is slightly more than the global average of 14%. The cream layer has ample opportunities to move from one company to another, but you can prevent this by investing in good reward and recognition programs.

High performance rates

According to psychologists, when you reward a certain behaviour, the behaviour tends to repeat itself. So that’s another reason why your employee recognition ideas need to revolve around rewarding high performance. This is going to boost overall performance with time.

Improved employee morale

Employees feel happy, grateful, and cherished when the organization recognizes their skills and efforts. You don’t have to give out gifts every time you want to recognize an employee. A well-thought-out social shout out or merely mentioning the performance in a meeting can make a significant difference. These improve employee morale.

Best practices on how to set up reward and recognition programs

Looking for best practices on setting up your reward and recognition programs? Check these out.

  1. Define clear R&R strategies

Now, ambiguity diminishes the effectiveness of good employee recognition ideas. Your employees should clearly know what behaviours make them eligible for rewards and recognitions. This will help them take right and relevant steps.

  1. Educate your management about the benefits of R&R

The management has to be thoroughly convinced about the benefits of the R&R program for it to work. If not, the program will lose interest and fizzle out quickly.

  1. Invest in modern tools that automate and make reward and recognition programs more real time/social/efficient

R&R tools make reward and recognition programs straightforward. In addition, such tools create an easy platform to socially endorse and recognize the right employee behaviours and outcomes, which can help build a culture of recognition.

  1. Refresh your old program

Most organizations have existing rewards and recognition programs. Check the process out and identify ways to refresh the old program. This, by itself, can help make a difference.

  1. Choose to recognize your employees publicly

Recognition does not mean sending out a personal email to the employee who has done a good job. It means giving the employee the fitting social recognition they deserve. Again, R&R tools can come to your aid here. PossibleWorks’ platform has a virtual social wall where employees can endorse one another to celebrate the good work and desirable behaviour. You will also be able to share live recognition feeds and encourage social participation.

Some examples of rewards and recognition programs that work

Here are some examples of reward and recognition programs that work:

  • Peer-to-peer recognition
  • Manager nomination
  • Personal Milestones like Birthdays/Anniversary
  • Service Milestone Awards
  • Client recognition
  • Social endorsement on internal platforms
  • Choice of awards
  • Country specific reward catalogues
  • Digital award options for contact less delivery

Do check out PossibleWorks’ 21 effective ideas for employee rewards and recognition program to learn more .


A good reward and recognition program is an excellent investment for both the company and employees. When researched and implemented right, employee recognition ideas can bring about exceptional results in terms of employee productivity and engagement. If you already have a reward and recognition program in place, see if you are making the above mistakes, and if so, tweak the strategy and refresh the program. Stretch your budget slightly to invest in modern recognition system that thrives on the recognition best practices. These can lead to quantifiable and visible results quickly.

Are you using the right technology for your Recognition programs?

Checkout our Buyer’s Guide to Employee Recognition software Or Book a Demo

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