Optimize Your Recognition Strategy in 4 Easy Steps to Ignite Employee Retention

Did you know that the number one reason why employees are leaving is that they don’t feel valued by their organization and manager? All the more reason to get to the root cause and strategize your approach to ensure you are retaining your talent.

Now more than ever, an effective employee recognition and engagement platform is crucial for organizational success. But before arriving at a healthy, dynamic, and engaged workforce with low rates of turnover, there are 4 steps you must take. Luckily, we have mapped out each one and outlined the best approach so you can show your employees they are appreciated and win back their hearts. 

Employee reward spend is expected to reach $242 billion this year, but despite this huge increase in investment, lack of appreciation is still the number one reason employees cite for leaving their organizations. So why bother trying new reward and recognition practices, right?


While it is true that organizations spend an exorbitant amount of money on employee rewards and perks to retain and motivate their employees, there is an expensive disconnect. Employees are still disengaged and feeling unappreciated! In fact, disengaged employees cost U.S. businesses up to $550 billion per year! Ouch. If you want to engage your employees and ensure they aren’t dusting off their resumes for the next opportunity, make them feel seen and appreciated. 90% of employees say that having an effective recognition program in place positively impacts engagement. It’s that simple. 

The issue isn’t that employee rewards simply don’t work. 69% of employees say that they’d work harder if they felt better appreciated at work! So what’s going on? There is one crucial element missing: these rewards are generic. 

The employee recognition and engagement platform your organization chooses can make or break your engagement strategy (and the bank). Choosing one that is versatile and can reward and recognize each employee’s accomplishments and milestones in a personalized way will enhance every key metric you are measuring across the organization. Don’t believe us? The research behind this is undeniable. 

It goes beyond the perks though! When you find the right software solution to bring your recognition programs to life, you will need a “plan of attack”, so to speak. Here are the 4 steps you can take to ensure a smooth and successful journey for you, your employees, and your investment. 

Let’s get to it!


Gain Executive Buy-In

Executive Buy-In is critical to your success; if you don’t have this then it will inevitably be the first roadblock you are likely to encounter when you begin to optimize your recognition strategy. Your executives will want to know why employee recognition is a worthy and necessary investment.

  • Explain the necessity - Times are changing. A shocking 47.4 million workers left their jobs voluntarily during what has been infamously dubbed “The Great Resignation”. The number one reason for this migration? Employees do not feel valued. Without an effective recognition strategy in place, it’s next to impossible to truly strengthen employee loyalty and productivity. In our experience, this captures the executives' attention right away as talent attraction and retention are certainly top of mind! 
  • Show the Return on Investment - This one is simple. Employees are leaving because they don’t feel appreciated. If your recognition program retains just one employee it will pay for itself. Employers spend an average of 90% - 200% of an employee's salary in lost time and costs when they leave. But that is just the beginning, it goes beyond the justification of making this a focus with short-term savings. By making recognition a focus it will boost bottom-line impact. Recognition is the leading driver of employee engagement; to gain your executives’ interests, show how an engagement strategy relates to the overall business objectives of the organization. This will help them see the impact it can have on the company’s bottom line and better align HR initiatives with organizational goals.

The ROI Analysis isn't just a tool to gain buy-in for an organizational strategy, it can also be used to evaluate different departments and teams to see how an increase in employee engagement can impact their business performance.

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Plan & Design

This is the fun part! Now that you have gotten the executive behind you, you can begin to design your programs to get real results and elevate the employee experience. 

  • Evaluate your current programs - The good news is, you don’t have to start from scratch. After all, who knows your organizational culture better than you? Because we know a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work, we want to enhance the magic that already exists within your organization. Have you seen your employees respond favorably to a specific recognition program you already have in place? Build on it!
  • Identify the types of Recognition Programs - The most dynamic cultures involve a scope of different Recognition Program types. There are common Programs that are applicable to every organization, including Birthdays, Workiversaries, Peer-to-Peer, Wellness, and others. Core Values-based programs, one of the most effective, are tied to the Core Values your organization prides itself on. Incentivize and reinforce the behaviors that set you apart to elevate your competitive advantage. Recognition drives revenue, there is magic within these different opportunities to boost organizational outcomes in a powerful way. 
  • Build a team of Champions - Find employees that are passionate about recognition; they will be your biggest Champions. Identify people from different departments, teams, locations and others to get a diverse representation of your organization. Invite them to provide insight and feedback to shape this new initiative before it launches. Get them trained and ready to be advocates of support for their colleagues. This will strengthen user adoption and boost outcomes. 

Time For Launch

The moment you’ve been waiting for! After careful consideration and planning, you have chosen the correct employee recognition and engagement platform and are ready to launch. This is an exciting time! There are some key things to remember as you and your team begin to utilize the platform.

  • Communicate your goals - The most important thing to remember when you begin to roll-out the new Recognition Programs; communication! Let your people know how much you value their contributions and let them know the ways this new initiative will positively impact organizational culture. This is where your team of Champions comes in; they will be instrumental in encouraging utilization of the platform to celebrate one another. 
  • Have an action plan  - A “plan of attack” is important for success. Outline the key metrics you would like to achieve from this initiative before launching. Have parameters in place that allow you to measure these areas continuously to reach your goals. 



Now that you have launched, and your employees have dove into this revamped culture of appreciation - it’s time to measure, evaluate, and act! 

  • Check user adoption  - This is critical to your success, take a look at the user adoption levels. What percentage of your employees are utilizing the platform? What sort of activity are you seeing? What programs are getting traction and which aren’t? These questions will be important in finding ways to continuously grow and pivot to increase adoption. 
  • Identify communication channels - We encouraged communication before launching, but it shouldn’t stop after the launch. Find the communication channels that work best for your team to encourage employees to recognize their colleagues that are making a difference. Your Champions can help you with this as well, excitement is contagious! 
  • Get employee feedback - Getting your employees’ input is crucial for ANY new initiative. Listen and act, identify patterns and suggestions that can take your programs to the next level. The more employees feel heard the more ideas they will share. This will lead to a best in class recognition experience for your entire organization. 

Sparck Can Help! 

It will quickly become evident how valuable this employee engagement solution will be for morale and overall satisfaction. 

The most important thing to remember is consistency. You are now equipped with all of the tools necessary to redefine your organizational culture. Use them! 

Using the #BeSeen Recognition & Engagement platform can serve you in so many areas, from peer-to-peer collaboration to one-on-one check-ins with your employees. 

If you are interested in learning about the ways Sparck can help your organization, chat with a dedicated Sparck partner today! We can’t wait to embark on this journey with you to create your best workplace yet. 


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