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Are Recognition Program KPIs Enough To Gauge Success?

With so many recognition program KPIs, it’s easy to forget about the true importance of recognition. It’s not just about how many awards are sent, or how many times employees log on to the program. It’s not only about the rewards they redeem, or any other recognition program KPIs you can imagine. While these indicators can give you an idea of how well your program is performing, at the end of the day, it is the emotional effect on your employees that matters.

The drawback of recognition program KPIs

Look around your company. Do your employees seem to be in better spirits than before you started your recognition program? Do they seem to smile more, complain less, and connect with coworkers and customers? These are the emotional signs that your recognition program is effective.

Your recognition program KPIs will give the quantifiable data that you can present to executives, but in actuality, those are just numbers on a page. There is the potential that impressive numbers are skewed because of some outside cultural factor. Maybe you have created a significant prize award for the person who sends the most recognition messages, but instead of creating an environment of appreciation, your employees simply send messages of “thanks” that are nothing more than air, in an excuse to send messages to get a prize. In this situation, your recognition culture will be watered down, and those messages, which were meant to improve the employee experience, wind up meaning nothing more than a means to a prize. This isn’t to say that incentive rewards are always bad – rather, they must be used wisely otherwise.

In the end, all initiatives that require quantifiable results, and are only focused on your recognition program KPIs, will fail. People are way more complex than numbers on a page. You should still use those numbers because they can be useful information, but do not confuse their value with true program effectiveness.

So how do you measure the effectiveness of a recognition program?

The answer is by talking to your employees. Interview them and see how the culture is going. Observe how employees interact with each other throughout the day. Do they stick to their workstations without talking to anyone? Do they laugh at jokes? Do they say hello in the hallway? Do they organize after-work activities together? Are people frequently ill, or come to work late? Do they seem to enjoy spending their day at work?

Another answer is to actually read the recognition messages that are sent. Are they simply fluff? Are they all sent to the same 10 people? Are some departments doing better than others? By analyzing the content more than the sheer numbers, you are able to get a major glimpse into the culture of your company.

Your recognition program KPIs are only a way to measure aspects of your program but fall short in understanding the true result. At the end of the day, it is the emotional health of your employees that creates a great work environment. Happy employees help customers become happy. Happy employees take pride in their work. Happy employees are the backbone of a successful company.


Take your employee recognition program to the next level with the fully-configurable, SaaS-based recognition and rewards platform from WorkStride. Let’s have a conversation!

About the Author

Katie Edwards is a Content Marketing Specialist at WorkStride, a company dramatically changing the world of employee recognition, sales incentives, engagement, and company culture. Katie has an English degree from the University of New Haven and enjoys reading sci-fi and fantasy novels in her spare time. LinkedIn