What is Employee Recognition

The term recognition is defined in many different ways. Some define recognition as receiving a reward or celebrating a success at work. Other organizations define recognition as earning an incentive for reaching a goal. All of these terms are related to recognition in some way. However, they do not completely define recognition.

According to Recognition Professionals International (RPI), recognition is: An after-the-fact display of appreciation or acknowledgment of an individual or team's desired behavior, effort, or business result that supports the organization's goals and values.

Recognition is more than simply throwing a party, giving an employee a gift, or saying thank you. It is an acknowledgement that intentionally links employee behavior to the corporate vision, mission, and values!

Types of Recognition
Recognition Professionals International (RPI) defines three types of recognition – formal, informal, and day-to-day. To provide balanced recognition, organizations should incorporate all three types of recognition into their strategy.

Formal Recognition: Formal recognition is a structured program with defined processes that link to organizational goals. It has a nomination process and an awards ceremony. Employees receive public recognition in a formal setting. In most organizations, this type of recognition occurs annually, and only a small number of employees are recognized. Examples include years of service or values champion awards.

Informal Recognition: Informal recognition is less structured then formal recognition. It is designed for individuals and teams rewarding progress towards a goal. Informal recognition typically includes a low-cost celebration with mementos or refreshments. An example is hosting a department-wide lunch when a major project is complete.

Day-to-Day Recognition: Anyone in the organization can give day-to-day recognition. This includes verbal praise or a thank you note. This type of recognition is designed to recognize behaviors that support the organizational values.
A good recognition program includes rewards, awards, incentives, and celebrations. These terms are defined below:

    Reward: An item given to an individual or team for meeting a pre-determined goal that is sometimes cash-based
    Award: An item given to an individual or team to commemorate a specified achievement that is typically non-cash
    Incentive: A contingent reward based on achievement of pre-determined performance results within a specific time period
    Celebration: A planned or spontaneous event in recognition of individual or team achievement

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