6 Reasons Recognition Awards Fail to Achieve Results

Recognition awards, such as plaques and trophies, are a common way for organizations to acknowledge and appreciate employee contributions. However, these traditional forms of recognition often fail to achieve their intended results. In this blog post, we'll explore six reasons why recognition awards may fall short and discuss how organizations can improve their recognition strategies to ensure maximum impact and effectiveness.

1. Lack of Inclusivity

One of the primary pitfalls of recognition awards is that they often leave out many deserving employees. When organizations focus solely on recognizing top performers or those with the most visible achievements, they risk overlooking the valuable contributions of other team members. This exclusivity can lead to feelings of resentment and demotivation among those who are not recognized.

To avoid this issue, organizations should strive to create a more inclusive recognition program that acknowledges the efforts of all employees. This can be achieved by implementing peer-to-peer recognition systems, where colleagues can nominate each other for awards, or by recognizing team achievements rather than individual accomplishments.

2. Delayed Recognition

Another reason recognition awards fail to achieve results is that they often come too late. When recognition is delayed, the impact is diminished, and employees may feel that their efforts have gone unnoticed. The significance of providing recognition in the moment cannot be overstated.

To maximize the impact of recognition, organizations should aim to acknowledge employee contributions as soon as possible. This can be done through instant recognition tools, such as digital platforms or apps that allow managers and peers to give real-time feedback and praise.

3. Cost vs. Value

Recognition awards can be expensive, especially when considering the cost of physical items like plaques and trophies. Organizations must carefully balance the cost and value of these awards to ensure their effectiveness. If the cost of the award outweighs its perceived value, employees may view it as a hollow gesture rather than a meaningful recognition of their efforts.

To address this issue, organizations can explore alternative forms of recognition that are more cost-effective and valuable to employees. This might include offering experiential rewards, such as professional development opportunities or extra time off, which can have a more lasting impact on employee satisfaction and engagement.

4. Administrative Challenges

Traditional recognition awards can also be challenging to administer and distribute. The process of selecting recipients, ordering awards, and organizing presentation ceremonies can be time-consuming and burdensome for HR departments and managers. These administrative challenges can lead to delays in recognition and a lack of consistency in the recognition program.

To streamline the recognition process, organizations can leverage technology solutions, such as recognition software or digital platforms. These tools can automate many of the administrative tasks associated with recognition, making it easier for managers to acknowledge employee contributions consistently and efficiently.

5. Lack of Personalization

Generic recognition awards, such as standardized plaques or trophies, often lack the personal touch that makes recognition meaningful. When employees receive the same award as everyone else, it can feel impersonal and fail to acknowledge their unique contributions and achievements.

To make recognition more impactful, organizations should strive to personalize awards whenever possible. This can be done by tailoring the recognition to the individual employee, such as by highlighting specific accomplishments or using their name in the award. Personalized recognition shows that the organization values the employee as an individual and appreciates their distinct contributions.

6. Misalignment with Company Values

Finally, recognition awards can fail to achieve results when they are not aligned with the organization's values and goals. If the criteria for receiving an award do not reflect the behaviors and achievements that the company wants to encourage, employees may not see the value in striving for recognition.

To ensure that recognition awards support the organization's objectives, it is essential to align the recognition criteria with the company's values and strategic priorities. This might involve recognizing employees who demonstrate specific behaviors, such as collaboration or innovation, or acknowledging contributions that directly support the organization's mission and goals.

In conclusion, while recognition awards can be a valuable tool for acknowledging employee contributions, they often fail to achieve their intended results due to issues such as lack of inclusivity, delayed recognition, cost-value imbalance, administrative challenges, lack of personalization, and misalignment with company values. By addressing these challenges and exploring alternative forms of recognition, organizations can create a more effective and impactful recognition program that truly celebrates and motivates their employees.

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